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Firm Size and Structural Change: A Case Study of Ethiopia-super- †


  • Måns Söderbom


I use firm-level census data to study changes in the structure of Ethiopia's manufacturing sector between 1998 and 2008. Over this period, aggregate manufacturing value-added grew at the same rate as GDP, the number of manufacturing firms more than doubled, and average firm size fell by more than 40%. I highlight substantial heterogeneity in economic performance across firms, and emphasise a strong association between firm size and value-added per worker. I find that 29% of the value-added size gap can be attributed to differences in product selection across small and large firms. I find no systematic difference in the output price charged by small and large firms for a given product. I therefore attribute the remaining value-added size gap to a higher level of physical labour productivity in large than in small firms. I conclude that small and large firms in Ethiopia use quite different technologies to produce similar products, and that an increase in the number of large firms would raise value-added per worker and ultimately GDP per capita in the country. Copyright 2012 , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Måns Söderbom, 2012. "Firm Size and Structural Change: A Case Study of Ethiopia-super- †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(suppl_2), pages -151, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:21:y:2012:i:suppl_2:p:-ii151

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Collier, 2013. "Aid as a Catalyst for Pioneer Investment," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2013-004, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Andrew Kerr & Bruce McDougall, 2020. "What is a firm census in a developing country? An answer from Ghana," SALDRU Working Papers 262, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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