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How Firms Respond to Business Cycles: The Role of Firm Age and Firm Size

  • Teresa C. Fort
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Ron S. Jarmin
  • Javier Miranda

There remains considerable debate in the theoretical and empirical literature about the differences in the cyclical dynamics of firms by firm size. This paper contributes to the debate in two ways. First, the key distinction between firm size and firm age is introduced. The evidence presented in this paper shows that young businesses (that are typically small) exhibit very different cyclical dynamics than small/older businesses. The second contribution is to present evidence and explore explanations for the finding that young/small businesses were hit especially hard in the Great Recession. The collapse in housing prices accounts for a significant part of the large decline of young/small businesses in the Great Recession.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 13-30.

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Length: 77 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-30
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  1. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson & Lucia Foster, 2010. "The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?," 2010 Meeting Papers 106, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Simon Gilchrist & Vladimir Yankov & Egon Zakrajsek, 2009. "Credit Market Shocks and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from Corporate Bond and Stock Markets," NBER Working Papers 14863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Adelino, Manuel & Schoar, Antoinette & Severino, Felipe, 2015. "House prices, collateral, and self-employment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 288-306.
  7. Randy A. Becker & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Shawn D. Klimek & Daniel J. Wilson, 2006. "Micro and Macro Data Integration: The Case of Capital," NBER Chapters, in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 541-610 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. 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.
  10. Sharpe, Steven A, 1994. "Financial Market Imperfections, Firm Leverage, and the Cyclicality of Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1060-74, September.
  11. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2009. "The Timing of Labor Market Expansions: New Facts and a New Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 1-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "House Prices, Home Equity-Based Borrowing, and the US Household Leverage Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2132-56, August.
  15. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 2006. "Appropriate Growth Policy: A Unifying Framework," Scholarly Articles 4554121, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  17. Love, Inessa & Zicchino, Lea, 2006. "Financial development and dynamic investment behavior: Evidence from panel VAR," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 190-210, May.
  18. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
  19. Erik Hurst & Benjamin Wild Pugsley, 2011. "What do Small Businesses Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 73-142.
  20. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  21. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
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