IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/respol/v39y2010i2p278-289.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A theory of firm growth: Learning capability, knowledge threshold, and patterns of growth

Author

Listed:
  • Lee, Chang-Yang

Abstract

This paper focuses on the dual role of R&D - knowledge generation and the technological-competence-enhancing effect of R&D - and its implication for the endogenous evolution of R&D productivity and the pattern of firm growth. In particular, based on the evolution of firm-specific R&D productivity or technological competence, this paper derives a simple R&D-based model of firm growth capable of explaining various aspects of firm growth. The model proposes three prototype patterns of firm growth, depending on both firm- and industry-specific characteristics. The former includes firm-specific technological-competence-enhancing capability and the initial level of technological knowledge, and the latter includes industry-specific R&D appropriability. Specifically, firms with low technological-competence-enhancing capability tend to follow a convergent growth pattern in which firm growth gradually declines, while firms with high technological-competence-enhancing capability tend to exhibit either a sustained or a vicious growth pattern depending on the initial size of their technological knowledge stock. An empirical analysis of unique data on firm growth and technological capability provides supportive evidence for the role of technological-competence-enhancing capability in conditioning the pattern of firm growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee, Chang-Yang, 2010. "A theory of firm growth: Learning capability, knowledge threshold, and patterns of growth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 278-289, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:2:p:278-289
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048-7333(09)00223-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Audretsch, David B., 1995. "Innovation, growth and survival," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 441-457, December.
    2. G. Urga & P. A. Geroski & S. Lazarova & C. F. Walters, 2003. "Are differences in firm size transitory or permanent?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 47-59.
    3. Goldman, M. & Ergas, H. & Ralph, E. & Felker, G., 1997. "Technology Institutions and Policies. Their Role in Developing Technological Capability in Industry," Papers 383, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    4. Cefis, Elena & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2001. "The persistence of innovative activities: A cross-countries and cross-sectors comparative analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1139-1158, August.
    5. Dunne, Paul & Hughes, Alan, 1994. "Age, Size, Growth and Survival: UK Companies in the 1980s," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 115-140, June.
    6. McPherson, Michael A., 1996. "Growth of micro and small enterprises in southern Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 253-277, March.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-746, August.
    8. Schmalensee, Richard, 1989. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 951-1009 Elsevier.
    9. Coad, Alex & Rao, Rekha, 2008. "Innovation and firm growth in high-tech sectors: A quantile regression approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 633-648, May.
    10. Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2007. "Entrepreneurship and the process of firms’ entry, survival and growth," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 455-488, June.
    11. Evans, David S, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 567-581, June.
    12. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
    13. Steven Klepper, 2002. "Firm Survival and the Evolution of Oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(1), pages 37-61, Spring.
    14. Elena Cefis & Orietta Marsili, 2005. "A matter of life and death: innovation and firm survival," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(6), pages 1167-1192, December.
    15. Paul Geroski & Mariana Mazzucato, 2002. "Learning and the sources of corporate growth," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 623-644, August.
    16. Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
    17. Philippe Aghion & Christopher Harris & Peter Howitt & John Vickers, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 467-492.
    18. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-674, August.
    19. Giulio Bottazzi & Elena Cefis & Giovanni Dosi, 2002. "Corporate growth and industrial structures: some evidence from the Italian manufacturing industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 705-723, August.
    20. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U. S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-698.
    21. Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2007. "Is demand-pulled innovation equally important in different groups of firms?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(5), pages 691-710, September.
    22. Goddard, John & Wilson, John & Blandon, Peter, 2002. "Panel tests of Gibrat's Law for Japanese manufacturing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 415-433, March.
    23. David B. Audretsch, 1995. "Innovation and Industry Evolution," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011468, January.
    24. Steven Klepper & Kenneth L. Simons, 2000. "The Making of an Oligopoly: Firm Survival and Technological Change in the Evolution of the U.S. Tire Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 728-760, August.
    25. Schmalensee, Richard, 1982. "Product Differentiation Advantages of Pioneering Brands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 349-365, June.
    26. Francesca Lotti, 2007. "Firm dynamics in manufacturing and services: a broken mirror?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 347-369, June.
    27. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 986-1018, October.
    28. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
    29. Richard Ericson & Ariel Pakes, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82.
    30. Mowery, David C., 1983. "The relationship between intrafirm and contractual forms of industrial research in American manufacturing, 1900-1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 351-374, October.
    31. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2003. "Does Gibrat's Law hold among young, small firms?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 213-235, August.
    32. Toke Reichstein & Michael Dahl, 2004. "Are Firm Growth Rates Random? Analysing Patterns and Dependencies," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 225-246.
    33. John Cantwell & Birgitte Andersen, 1996. "A Statistical Analysis of Corporate Technological Leadership Historically," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 211-234.
    34. Liu, Jin-Tan & Tsou, Meng-Wen & Hammitt, James K., 1999. "Do small plants grow faster? Evidence from the Taiwan electronics industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 121-129, October.
    35. Geroski, P. A. & Van Reenen, J. & Walters, C. F., 1997. "How persistently do firms innovate?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-48, March.
    36. Ajit Singh & Geoffrey Whittington, 1975. "The Size and Growth of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 15-26.
    37. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    38. Audretsch, David B. & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 1999. "Start-up size and industrial dynamics: some evidence from Italian manufacturing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(7), pages 965-983, October.
    39. P. Geroski, 1998. "An Applied Econometrician's View of Large Company Performance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(3), pages 271-294, June.
    40. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and the Sustainability of Competitive Advantage: Reply," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1514-1514, December.
    41. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    42. Andrew A. King & Christopher L. Tucci, 2002. "Incumbent Entry into New Market Niches: The Role of Experience and Managerial Choice in the Creation of Dynamic Capabilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(2), pages 171-186, February.
    43. José Fariñas & Lourdes Moreno, 2000. "Firms' Growth, Size and Age: A Nonparametric Approach," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 17(3), pages 249-265, November.
    44. Breschi, Stefano & Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2000. "Technological Regimes and Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 388-410, April.
    45. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
    46. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-583, June.
    47. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    48. Hart, Peter E & Oulton, Nicholas, 1996. "Growth and Size of Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1242-1252, September.
    49. Das, Sanghamitra, 1995. "Size, age and firm growth in an infant industry: The computer hardware industry in India," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-126, March.
    50. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Krafft Jackie & Quatraro Francesco & Colombelli Alessandra, 2011. "High Growth Firms and Technological Knowledge: Do gazelles follow exploration or exploitation strategies?," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201114, University of Turin.
    2. Kim, Jungho & Lee, Chang-Yang & Cho, Yunok, 2016. "Technological diversification, core-technology competence, and firm growth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 113-124.
    3. Alessandra Colombelli & Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Eco-innovation and firm growth: Do green gazelles run faster? Microeconometric evidence from a sample of European firms," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201516, University of Turin.
    4. Grillitsch, Markus & Nilsson , Magnus, 2013. "Technological competencies and firm performance: Analyzing the importance of internal and external competencies," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/24, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    5. Hugo Pinto, 2011. "Knowledge Transfer in the Mirror: Reflections on the Determinants of Research Groups and Companies Collaborative Patterns within Andalusia's Regional Innovation System," ERSA conference papers ersa11p212, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola, 2015. "Knowledge stocks, knowledge flows and innovation: Evidence from matched patents and innovation panel data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1327-1340.
    7. A. Arrighetti & F. Landini & A. Lasagni, 2016. "Swimming Upstream Throughout the Turmoil: Evidence on Firm Growth During the Great Recession," Economics Department Working Papers 2016-EP04, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    8. Hugo Pinto & Manuel Fernández-Esquinas, 2013. "Exploring knowledge-transfer dynamics in a South European region: breadth, intensity and informality of university-industry interactions in Andalusia," Chapters,in: Knowledge Commercialization and Valorization in Regional Economic Development, chapter 10, pages 209-237 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Mitja Jeraj & Miha Maric & Ivan Todorovic & Mladen Cudanov, 2015. "The Role of Openness and Entrepreneurial Curiosity in Company’s Growth," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 17(38), pages 371-371, February.
    10. Colombelli, Alessandra & Haned, Naciba & Le Bas, Christian, 2013. "On firm growth and innovation: Some new empirical perspectives using French CIS (1992–2004)," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 14-26.
    11. Moutinho, Ricardo & Au-Yong-Oliveira, Manuel & Coelho, Arnaldo & Manso, José Pires, 2015. "Beyond the “Innovation's Black-Box”: Translating R&D outlays into employment and economic growth," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 45-58.
    12. Nunes, Paulo Maçãs & Serrasqueiro, Zélia & Leitão, João, 2012. "Is there a linear relationship between R&D intensity and growth? Empirical evidence of non-high-tech vs. high-tech SMEs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 36-53.
    13. Marko Peric & Vanja Vitezic, 2016. "Impact of global economic crisis on firm growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 1-12, January.
    14. Hyytinen, Ari & Maliranta, Mika, 2013. "Firm lifecycles and evolution of industry productivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 1080-1098.
    15. Riccardo Leoncini & Alberto Marzucchi & Sandro Montresor & Francesco Rentocchini & Ugo Rizzo, 2016. "‘Better late than never’: a longitudinal quantile regression approach to the interplay between green technology and age for firm growth," SEEDS Working Papers 0616, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised May 2016.
    16. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:9:p:1570-1579 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Marko Peric & Vanja Vitezic, 2016. "Impact of global economic crisis on firm growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 1-12, January.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:2:p:278-289. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.