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Older and Slower: The Startup Deficit’s Lasting Effects on Aggregate Productivity Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Titan Alon
  • David Berger
  • Robert Dent
  • Benjamin Pugsley

Abstract

We investigate the link between declining firm entry, aging incumbent firms and sluggish U.S. productivity growth. We provide a dynamic decomposition framework to characterize the contributions to industry productivity growth across the firm age distribution and apply this framework to the newly developed Revenue-enhanced Longitudinal Business Database (ReLBD). Overall, several key findings emerge: (i) the relationship between firm age and productivity growth is downward sloping and convex; (ii) the magnitudes are substantial and significant but fade quickly, with nearly 2/3 of the effect disappearing after five years and nearly the entire effect disappearing after ten; (iii) the higher productivity growth of young firms is driven nearly exclusively by the forces of selection and reallocation. Our results suggest a cumulative drag on aggregate productivity of 3.1% since 1980. Using an instrumental variables strategy we find a consistent pattern across states/MSAs in the U.S. The patterns are broadly consistent with a standard model of firm dynamics with monopolistic competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Titan Alon & David Berger & Robert Dent & Benjamin Pugsley, 2018. "Older and Slower: The Startup Deficit’s Lasting Effects on Aggregate Productivity Growth," Working Papers 18-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:18-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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