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Growth processes of Italian manufacturing firms

  • Coad, Alex
  • Rao, Rekha
  • Tamagni, Federico

Abstract This paper presents a multidimensional empirical analysis of firm growth. Exploiting census data on Italian manufacturing firms, 1989-1997, we estimate a reduced-form VAR to analyze the co-evolution of employment growth, sales growth, growth of profits and labour productivity growth. Our main findings suggest that (i) employment growth precedes sales growth; (ii) productivity growth lacks any strong association with subsequent growth of the other indicators; (iii) profits growth represents the 'absorbing dimension' of the growth processes. This picture contrasts with 'accelerator models', predicting sales are the driver of the growth process, and is also at odds with theories of firm-industry evolution assuming productivity or profits advantages to be the driver of strong market selection/reallocation mechanisms. Instead, the findings reveal the existence of (weak) Penrose and (strong) Kaldor-Verdoorn effects, and more generally convey the view that employment growth is the key driver of firm expansion, while profits, once made, are not reinvested.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 54-70

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Handle: RePEc:eee:streco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:54-70
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/525148

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  1. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
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  7. Alex Coad, 2005. "Testing the Principle of "Growth of the Fitter": The Relationship between Profits and Firm Growth," Emory Economics 0531, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
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  16. Baumol, William J, et al, 1970. "Earnings Retention, New Capital and the Growth of the Firm," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(4), pages 345-55, November.
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  18. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  19. Giulio Bottazzi & Alex Coad & Nadia Jacoby & Angelo Secchi, 2005. "Corporate Growth and Industrial Dynamics: Evidence from French Manufacturing," LEM Papers Series 2005/21, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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