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The drivers of firm longevity: Age, size, profitability and survivorship of Australian corporations, 1901–1930

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  • Laura Panza
  • Simon Ville
  • David Merrett

Abstract

Why do some firms last longer than others? This question has attracted considerable interest among scholars from business history, management and economics. Our article combines the business historian’s macro view of the relationship between size, longevity, and economic development with quantitative modelling. We apply survival analysis to data relating to size, age and profitability, three first-order explanations of longevity, for Australian stock exchange (ASX) listed corporations from 1901 to 1930. The novelty of the article is twofold: we find that firm size is a poor predictor of longevity for the full sample but its age and profitability are highly significant; our data covers a longer time frame and relates to a rich mid-sized and non-industrialised country.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Panza & Simon Ville & David Merrett, 2018. "The drivers of firm longevity: Age, size, profitability and survivorship of Australian corporations, 1901–1930," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(2), pages 157-177, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:60:y:2018:i:2:p:157-177
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1293041
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00076791.2017.1293041
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    1. Ville,Simon & Withers,Glenn (ed.), 2015. "The Cambridge Economic History of Australia," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107029491, April.
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