The Survival of Industrial Plants
The study seeks to explain the attrition rate of new manufacturing plants in the United States in terms of three vectors of variables. The first explains how survival of the fittest proceeds through learning by firms (plants) about their own relative efficiency. The second explains how efficiency systematically changes over time and what augments or diminishes it. The third captures the opportunity cost of resources employed in a plant. The model is tested using maximum-likelihood probit analysis with very large samples for successive census years in the 1967-97 period. One sample consists of an unbalanced panel of about three-fourths of a million plants of single and multi-unit firms, or alternatively of about 300,000 plants if only the most reliable data are considered. The second is restricted to the plants of multi-unit firms in the same time span and consists of an unbalanced panel of more than 100,000 plants. The empirical analysis strongly confirms the predictions of the model.
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