IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cen/wpaper/10-10.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An Alternative Theory of the Plant Size Distribution with an Application to Trade

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • John J. Stevens

Abstract

There is wide variation in the sizes of manufacturing plants, even within the most narrowly defined industry classifications used by statistical agencies. Standard theories attribute all such size differences to productivity differences. This paper develops an alternative theory in which industries are made up of large plants producing standardized goods and small plants making custom or specialty goods. It uses confidential Census data to estimate the parameters of the model, including estimates of plant counts in the standardized and specialty segments by industry. The estimated model fits the data relatively well compared with estimates based on standard approaches. In particular, the predictions of the model for the impacts of a surge in imports from China are consistent with what happened to U.S. manufacturing industries that experienced such a surge over the period 1997—2007. Large-scale standardized plants were decimated, while small-scale specialty plants were relatively less impacted.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An Alternative Theory of the Plant Size Distribution with an Application to Trade," Working Papers 10-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-10
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2010/CES-WP-10-10.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2004. "Geographic concentration and establishment size: analysis in an alternative economic geography model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(3), pages 227-250, June.
    2. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    3. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 1999. "Rationalization effects of tariff reductions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-320, April.
    4. Holmes, Thomas J. & Stevens, John J., 2004. "Spatial distribution of economic activities in North America," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 63, pages 2797-2843, Elsevier.
    5. Alessandria, George & Choi, Horag, 2014. "Establishment heterogeneity, exporter dynamics, and the effects of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 207-223.
    6. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
    7. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
    8. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
    9. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An alternative theory of the plant size distribution with an application to trade," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
    11. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," Working Papers 09-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2002. "Geographic Concentration and Establishment Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 682-690, November.
    13. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    14. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
    15. Russell Hillberry & David Hummels, 2003. "Intranational Home Bias: Some Explanations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1089-1092, November.
    16. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
    17. Buera, Francisco J. & Kaboski, Joseph P., 2012. "Scale and the origins of structural change," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 684-712.
    18. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    19. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    20. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Julien MARTIN & Florian MAYNERIS, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance: Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2013027, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Nataraj, Shanthi, 2011. "The impact of trade liberalization on productivity: Evidence from India's formal and informal manufacturing sectors," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 292-301.
    3. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2009. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," Working Papers 09-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Suedekum, Jens, 2017. "Spatial frictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 40-70.
    5. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An alternative theory of the plant size distribution with an application to trade," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2021. "Micro Data and Macro Technology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(2), pages 703-732, March.
    7. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2012. "Country Size, International Trade, and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(6), pages 1083-1132.
    8. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    9. Holmes, Thomas J. & Stevens, John J., 2012. "Exports, borders, distance, and plant size," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 91-103.
    10. Martin, Julien & Mejean, Isabelle, 2014. "Low-wage country competition and the quality content of high-wage country exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 140-152.
    11. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Jae Song, 2014. "Trade Adjustment: Worker-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1799-1860.
    12. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Minerva, G. Alfredo, 2011. "Production in advance versus production to order: The role of downstream spatial clustering and product differentiation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 32-46, July.
    13. Nicholas Bloom & Mirko Draca & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on Innovation, IT and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 87-117.
    14. Swati Dhingra & John Morrow, 2012. "The Impact of Integration on Productivity and Welfare Distortions Under Monopolistic Competition," FIW Working Paper series 088, FIW.
    15. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2014. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 365-394.
    16. Álvarez, Roberto & Vergara, Sebastián, 2013. "Trade exposure, survival and growth of small and medium-size firms," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 185-201.
    17. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    18. Soderbery, Anson, 2014. "Market size, structure, and access: Trade with capacity constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 276-298.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    2. Costas Arkolakis, 2016. "A Unified Theory of Firm Selection and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 89-155.
    3. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2009. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," Working Papers 09-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Alessandria, George & Choi, Horag, 2014. "Establishment heterogeneity, exporter dynamics, and the effects of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 207-223.
    5. Holmes, Thomas J. & Stevens, John J., 2012. "Exports, borders, distance, and plant size," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 91-103.
    6. Roman Fossati, 2011. "Outsourcing versus Vertical Integration: A Dynamic Model of Industry Equilibrium," 2011 Meeting Papers 1421, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Ariel T. Burstein & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2009. "Foreign Know-How, Firm Control, and the Income of Developing Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 149-195.
    8. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John C. Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2019. "Innovation, Productivity Dispersion, and Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 103-136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Piyush Panigrahi, 2021. "Endogenous Spatial Production Networks: Quantitative Implications for Trade and Productivity," CESifo Working Paper Series 9466, CESifo.
    10. Cristina Fernández & Roberta García & Paloma Lopez-Garcia & Benedicta Marzinotto & Roberta Serafini & Juuso Vanhala & Ladislav Wintr, 2017. "Firm growth in Europe: An overview based on the COMPNET labour module," BCL working papers 107, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    11. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Product Switching," NBER Working Papers 12293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Acemoglu, Daron & Cao, Dan, 2015. "Innovation by entrants and incumbents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 255-294.
    13. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "Products and Productivity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(4), pages 681-709, December.
    14. Laura Alfaro & Anusha Chari, 2014. "Deregulation, Misallocation, and Size: Evidence from India," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 897-936.
    15. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Suedekum, Jens, 2017. "Spatial frictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 40-70.
    16. Mark J Roberts & Daniel Yi Xu & Xiaoyan Fan & Shengxing Zhang, 2018. "The Role of Firm Factors in Demand, Cost, and Export Market Selection for Chinese Footwear Producers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 2429-2461.
    17. Kristian Behrens & Giordano Mion & Yasusada Murata & Jens Südekum, 2014. "Trade, Wages, And Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1305-1348, November.
    18. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John C. & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2009. "Trade Reforms and Market Selection: Evidence from Manufacturing Plants in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 4256, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Poschke, Markus, 2009. "Employment protection, firm selection, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1074-1085, November.
    20. Vincent Sterk & Petr Sedláček & Benjamin Pugsley, 2021. "The Nature of Firm Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(2), pages 547-579, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Dawn Anderson (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesgvus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.