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Growth paths and survival chances: An application of Gambler's Ruin theory

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  • Coad, Alex
  • Frankish, Julian
  • Roberts, Richard G.
  • Storey, David J.

Abstract

This paper links new firm survival with growth, with a focus on the patterns in firms' growth paths. We theorise a Gambler's Ruin framework by arguing that new firm performance is best modelled as a random walk process, but that survival is nonrandom and depends primarily on the stock of accumulated resources. A firm's resources are either there when the business begins or are generated by successful periods — ‘wins’. The empirical section tracks, over six years, the sales and survival/non-survival of 6247 UK start-ups which all began trading in the same quarter of 2004. We do not find strong evidence in favour of a taxonomy of growth paths, because we observe that every possible growth path seems to occur with roughly equal probability. However, we observe that growth paths influence subsequent survival. Controlling for lagged size, we observe that longer lags of growth, and even start-up size, have significant effects on survival.

Suggested Citation

  • Coad, Alex & Frankish, Julian & Roberts, Richard G. & Storey, David J., 2013. "Growth paths and survival chances: An application of Gambler's Ruin theory," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 615-632.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:28:y:2013:i:5:p:615-632 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2012.06.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Coad & Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Daniel Halvarsson, 2018. "Bursting into life: firm growth and growth persistence by age," Small Business Economics, Springer, pages 55-75.
    2. Alex Coad & Julian Frankish & Paul Nightingale & Richard Roberts, 2014. "Business experience and start-up size: Buying more lottery tickets next time around?," Small Business Economics, Springer, pages 529-547.
    3. Martin Binder, 2017. "Entrepreneurial Success and Subjective Well-Being: Worries about the Business Explain One's Well-Being Loss from Self-Employment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 947, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Giovanni Dosi & Emanuele Pugliese & Pietro Santoleri, 2017. "Growth and survival of the `fitter'? Evidence from US new-born firms," LEM Papers Series 2017/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Juan Federico & Joan-Lluis Capelleras, 2015. "The heterogeneous dynamics between growth and profits: the case of young firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 231-253, February.
    6. Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Daniel Halvarsson, 2015. "Are high-growth firms one-hit wonders? Evidence from Sweden," Small Business Economics, Springer, pages 361-383.
    7. Alex Coad & Kristian Nielsen & Bram Timmermans, 2017. "My first employee: an empirical investigation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 25-45, January.
    8. Giorgio Canarella & Stephen M. Miller, 2017. "The Determinants of Growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry: A Firm-Level Analysis," Working papers 2017-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Michael Fritsch & Florian Noseleit & Yvonne Schindele, 2014. "Surviving Against the Tide: Are New Businesses in Innovative Industries Less Affected by General Economic Trends?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    10. Elena Cefis & Orietta Marsili, 2018. "Good Times, Bad Times: Innovation and Survival over the Business Cycle," LEM Papers Series 2018/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    11. Arjen Van Witteloostuijn & Marcus Dejardin & Julie Hermans & Dendi Ramdani, & Johanna Vanderstraeten & Jacqueline Brassey & Hendrik Slabbinck, 2015. "Fitting entrepreneurial, firm-level and environmental contingencies for better performance," Post-Print halshs-01379907, HAL.
    12. Alex Coad & David J Storey & Richard G Roberts & Julian S Frankish, 2013. "New venture survival and growth: does the fog lift?," Working Papers 2013/36, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    13. Yuji Honjo & Masatoshi Kato, 2016. "Do initial financial conditions determine the fate of start-up firms?," Discussion Paper Series 139, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Jan 2016.
    14. Alex Coad & Julian S. Frankish & Richard G. Roberts & David J. Storey, 2016. "Predicting new venture survival and growth: Does the fog lift?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 217-241, June.
    15. Terjesen, Siri A. & João Guedes, Maria & Patel, Pankaj C., 2016. "Founded in adversity: Operations-based survival strategies of ventures founded during a recession," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 161-169.
    16. Wennberg, Karl & Delmar, Frédéric & McKelvie, Alexander, 2016. "Variable risk preferences in new firm growth and survival," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 408-427.
    17. Mario BENASSI & Matteo LANDONI & Francesco RENTOCCHINI, 2017. "University Management Practices and Academic Spin-offs," Departmental Working Papers 2017-11, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    18. Habermann, Harald, 2017. "Business takeovers and firm growth: Empirical evidence from a German panel," Working Papers 01/17, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.
    19. Åstebro, Thomas & Tåg, Joacim, 2015. "Jobs Incorporated: Incorporation Status and Job Creation," Working Paper Series 1059, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    20. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9847-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Silviano Esteve Pérez & Fabio Pieri & Diego Rodriguez, 2015. "Age and productivity as determinants of firm survival over the product life cycle," Working Papers 1502, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    22. Hyytinen, Ari & Pajarinen, Mika & Rouvinen, Petri, 2015. "Does innovativeness reduce startup survival rates?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 564-581.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth paths; Firm growth firm survival; Gambler's Ruin; Start-up size;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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