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Is Bigger Always Better ? The Effect of Size on Defaults

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  • Giulio Bottazzi
  • Federico Tamagni

Abstract

Exploiting a large database of Italian manufacturing firms we investigate the relationships between default rate and firm size. Default events, defined as conditions of actual or likely insolvency, are a signal of deep business troubles. They are unanticipated, costly and dangerous for the firm as well as for the economy, and should be in principle avoided. Our evidence, based on data provided by a large Italian banking group, reveals that the default probability of firms increases with their size. This finding contrasts with typical results on exit events based on business registries data, and suggests to revise the common wisdom that sees the core of the industry as a safe place and its members as most valuable economic assets.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2010/07.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2010/07

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Keywords: firm default and exit; firm size; bootstrap probit regressions.;

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References

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  1. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, 03.
  2. Honjo, Yuji, 2000. "Business failure of new firms: an empirical analysis using a multiplicative hazards model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 557-574, May.
  3. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2009. "Financial and economic determinants of firm default," LEM Papers Series 2009/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  4. Silviano Esteve-Pérez & Amparo Sanchis-Llopis & Juan Sanchis-Llopis, 2010. "A competing risks analysis of firms’ exit," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 281-304, April.
  5. Mata, Jose & Portugal, Pedro, 1994. "Life Duration of New Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 227-45, September.
  6. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2007. "Assessing the Impact of Credit Ratings and Economic Performance on Firm Default," LEM Papers Series 2007/15, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  7. Grunert, Jens & Norden, Lars & Weber, Martin, 2005. "The role of non-financial factors in internal credit ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 509-531, February.
  8. Gilson, Stuart C, 1997. " Transactions Costs and Capital Structure Choice: Evidence from Financially Distressed Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 161-96, March.
  9. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2006. "Productivity, Profitability and Financial Fragility: Evidence from Italian Business Firms," LEM Papers Series 2006/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Agarwal, Rajshree & Audretsch, David B, 2001. "Does Entry Size Matter? The Impact of the Life Cycle and Technology on Firm Survival," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 21-43, March.
  11. Agarwal, Rajshree & Gort, Michael, 1996. "The Evolution of Markets and Entry, Exit and Survival of Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 489-98, August.
  12. Shrieves, Ronald E. & Stevens, Donald L., 1979. "Bankruptcy Avoidance as a Motive For Merger," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 501-515, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2009. "Financial and economic determinants of firm default," LEM Papers Series 2009/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  2. Anna Maria Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta & Erol Taymaz & Kamil Yilmaz, 2013. "The Impact Of Fdi On Firm Survival And Employment: A Comparative Analysis For Turkey And Italy," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1211, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Ferragina, Anna & Pittiglio, Rosanna & Reganati, Filippo, 2012. "Multinational status and firm exit in the Italian manufacturing and service sectors," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 363-372.
  4. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2007. "Assessing the Impact of Credit Ratings and Economic Performance on Firm Default," LEM Papers Series 2007/15, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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