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Are Firm Growth Rates Random? Analysing Patterns and Dependencies


  • Toke Reichstein
  • Michael Dahl


Using Danish firm data covering almost 9000 observations, we find significant proof that firm growth cannot be considered as a simple Gibrat growth process. Key variables, such as size, age, geographical location and industry structure are tested against firm growth rates in turnover and employment. Besides running the regressions on all observations, we also consider and find highly interesting patterns in an industry context. Thus, we conclude that firm growth cannot be considered idiosyncratic. Firm growth is highly dependent on industry and geography.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:18:y:2004:i:2:p:225-246
    DOI: 10.1080/0269217042000186705

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Coad & Jagannadha Pawan Tamvada, 2008. "The Growth and Decline of Small firms In Developing Countries," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    2. Besnik A. Krasniqi & Muhamet Mustafa, 2016. "Small firm growth in a post-conflict environment: the role of human capital, institutional quality, and managerial capacities," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 1165-1207, December.
    3. Anne Otto & Dirk Fornahl, 2009. "Cohesion Policy:Methodology And Indicators Towards Common Approach," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, JUNE.
    4. Nino Kokashvili & Irakli Barbakadze & Ketevani Kapanadze, 2017. "How Participating In The Shadow Economy Affects The Growth Of Latvian Firms," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 101, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    5. Thomas Gries & Ha van Dung, 2014. "Institutional environment, human capital, and firm growth: Evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers CIE 83, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. Daskalopoulou, Irene & Petrou, Anastasia, 2010. "Entrepreneurial growth expectations and information flows in networks," MPRA Paper 22663, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Lang, Åsa & Macuchova, Zuzana & Rudholm, Niklas, 2011. "Firm Growth in the Retail and Wholesale Trade Sectors – Evidence from Sweden," HUI Working Papers 50, HUI Research.
    9. Håkansson, Johan & Macuchova, Zuzana & Rudholm, Niklas, 2013. "Predicting Entry of Swedish Wholesale Firms into Local Markets," HUI Working Papers 93, HUI Research.
    10. Jan de Kok & Haibo Zhou & Chantal Hartog, 2012. "The risk of growing fast," Scales Research Reports H201119, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    11. Otto, Anne & Fornahl, Dirk, 2008. "Long-term growth determinants of young businesses in Germany : effects of regional concentration and specialisation," IAB Discussion Paper 200813, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    12. John Goddard & David McMillan & John Wilson, 2006. "Do firm sizes and profit rates converge? Evidence on Gibrat's Law and the persistence of profits in the long run," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 267-278.
    13. Jan de Kok & Haibo Zhou & Chantal Hartog & Peter van der Zwan, 2012. "The Risk of growing fast: does fast growth have a negative impact on the survival rates of firms?," Scales Research Reports H201209, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    14. Toke Reichstein & Michael Dahl & Bernd Ebersberger & Morten Jensen, 2010. "The devil dwells in the tails," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 219-231, April.
    15. Alex Coad & Jaganaddha Tamvada, 2012. "Firm growth and barriers to growth among small firms in India," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 383-400, September.


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