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The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?

  • Lucia Foster
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Chad Syverson

It is well known that new businesses are typically much smaller than their established industry competitors, and that this size gap closes slowly. We show that even in commodity-like product markets, these patterns do not reflect productivity gaps, but rather differences in demand-side fundamentals. We document and explore patterns in plants’ idiosyncratic demand levels by estimating a dynamic model of plant expansion in the presence of a demand accumulation process (e.g., building a customer base). We find active accumulation driven by plants’ past production decisions quantitatively dominates passive demand accumulation, and that within-firm spillovers affect demand levels but not growth.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2012/CES-WP-12-06.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 12-06.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:12-06
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