The Time-Series Pattern Of Firm Growth In Two Industries
Using a unique firm-level longitudinal data set that covers both the manufacturing and finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) industries, this paper examines the time-series pattern of firm growth both immediately after entry and immediately prior to exit, and compares these patterns across the two industries. While previous research has examined the post-entry time-series behavior of firms, this research has focused exclusively on manufacturing firms. Examining the behavior of nonmanufacturing firms is important for two reasons. First, since the relative importance of the manufacturing industry has been declining recently, the behavior of manufacturing firms may be much different than the behavior of firms in an expanding industry, such as FIRE. Thus, comparing the growth of firms in a nonmanufacturing industry, with the growth of manufacturing firms provides more general knowledge about firm behavior. Second, since any good theory of firm dynamics should explain cross-industry differences in firm behavior, cross-industry differences in behavior must be documented before models of this type can be developed. The main finding of this paper are: (1) relative to FIRE firms, manufacturing firms experience more periods of above average growth immediately after entry; (2) relative to FIRE firms, manufacturing firms experience more periods of below average growth immediately prior to exit; and (3) relative to the growth of manufacturing firms, the growth of the typical FIRE firm is much more responsive to transitory shocks.
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