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Industry Dynamics and the Distribution of Firm Sizes: A Nonparametric Approach

  • Francesca Lotti

    ()

    (Research Department, Bank of Italy)

  • Enrico Santarelli

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna)

The aim of this paper is to analyze the evolution of the size distribution of young firms within some selected industries, using as a background three theories of the distribution of firm sizes that identify a process of passive learning (Jovanovic 1982), one of active learning (Ericson and Pakes 1995), and an evolutionary one (Audretsch 1995) in the postentry dynamics of business firms. We use a nonparametric technique, the kernel density estimator, applied to a data set from the Italian National Institute for Social Security (INPS), consisting of 12 cohorts of new manufacturing firms that were followed on a quarterly base for six years. We find that firm size distribution is in general skewed to the right, although different industries display different paths and speeds of convergence toward the limit distribution. This finding is fairly consistent with theories allowing for industry heterogeneity in terms of structural and technological features, which, in turn, result in industry-specific evolution of the size distribution of new entrants.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 443-466

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:3:y:2004:p:443-466
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  1. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2001. "Is It Really Wise to Design Policies in Support of New Firm Formation?," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(4), pages 151-170, April-May.
  2. Brock, W A, 1999. "Scaling in Economics: A Reader's Guide," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 409-46, September.
  3. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2001. "The relationship between size and growth: the case of Italian newborn firms," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(7), pages 451-454.
  4. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  5. Ijiri, Yuji & Simon, Herbert A, 1974. "Interpretations of Departures from the Pareto Curve Firm-Size Distributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 315-31, Part I, M.
  6. Peter Hart & Nicholas Oulton, 1999. "Gibrat, Galton and Job Generation," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 149-164.
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  8. Klepper, Steven & Miller, John H., 1995. "Entry, exit, and shakeouts in the United States in new manufactured products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 567-591, December.
  9. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Boeri, Tito & Bellmann, Lutz, 1995. "Post-entry behaviour and the cycle: Evidence from Germany," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 483-500, December.
  12. David B. Audretsch, 1995. "Innovation and Industry Evolution," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011468, June.
  13. Pakes, Ariel & Ericson, Richard, 1998. "Empirical Implications of Alternative Models of Firm Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-45, March.
  14. L. A. N. Amaral & S. V. Buldyrev & S. Havlin & H. Leschhorn & P. Maass & M. A. Salinger & H. E. Stanley & M. H. R. Stanley, 1997. "Scaling behavior in economics: I. Empirical results for company growth," Papers cond-mat/9702082, arXiv.org.
  15. Jose A. F. Machado & Jose Mata, 2000. "Box-Cox quantile regression and the distribution of firm sizes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 253-274.
  16. Cabral, Luís M B, 1997. "Entry Mistakes," CEPR Discussion Papers 1729, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Stephen Hymer & Peter Pashigian, 1962. "Firm Size and Rate of Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 556.
  18. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
  19. F. Lotti & E. Santarelli & M. Vivarelli, 1999. "Does Gibrat’s Law Hold in the Case of Young, Small Firms?," Working Papers 361, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  20. Geroski, Paul A, 1999. "The Growth of Firms in Theory and in Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 2092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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