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Firm Size Dynamics in the Aggregate Economy

  • Wright, Mark

Why do firm growth and exit rates decline with size? What determines the size distribution of firms? This paper presents a theory of firm dynamics that simultaneously rationalizes the basic facts on firm growth, exit, and size distributions. The theory emphasizes the accumulation of industry specific human capital in response to industry specific productivity shocks. The theory implies that firm growth and exit rates should decline faster with size, and the size distribution should have thinner tails, in sectors that use human capital less intensively, or correspondingly, physical capital more intensively. In line with the theory, we document substantial sectoral heterogeneity in US firm dynamics and firm size distributions, which is well explained by variation in physical capital intensities.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt4rs4202s.

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Date of creation: 12 Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt4rs4202s
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  12. Gorecki, Paul K, 1976. "The Determinants of Entry by Domestic and Foreign Enterprises in Canadian Manufacturing Industries: Some Comments and Empirical Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(4), pages 485-88, November.
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  19. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson L., 1988. "Plant Turnover And Gross Employment Flows In The U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Papers 9-87-7, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  20. Schmalensee, Richard., 1987. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Working papers 1874-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  22. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315, 04.
  23. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  24. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Inequality and the Organization of Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 197-202, May.
  25. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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