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The Growth Potential of Startups over the Business Cycle

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  • Petr Sedlacek

    () (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (University of Bonn), Wirtschaftswissenschaftlicher Fachbereich (Economics Department), Bonn Graduate School of Economics)

  • Vincent Sterk

    () (Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM))

Abstract

This paper shows that job creation of cohorts of U.S. firms is strongly influenced by aggregate conditions at the time of their entry. Using data from the Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) we follow cohorts of young firms and document that their employment levels are very persistent and largely driven by the intensive margin (average firm size) rather than the extensive margin (number of firms). To differentiate changes in the composition of startup cohorts from post-entry choices and to evaluate aggregate effects, we estimate a general equilibrium firm dynamics model using BDS data. We find that even for older firms, the aggregate state at birth drives the vast majority of variations in employment across cohorts of the same age. The key force behind this result are fluctuations in the composition of startup cohorts with respect to firms' potential to grow large. At the aggregate level, factors determined at the startup phase account for the large low-frequency fluctuations observed in the employment rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Petr Sedlacek & Vincent Sterk, 2014. "The Growth Potential of Startups over the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers 1403, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfm:wpaper:1403
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm Dynamics; Heterogeneous Agents; Maximum Likelihood; DSGE;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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