IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A new perspective on the firm size-growth relationship: shape of profits, investment and heterogeneous credit constraints

  • MAYNERIS, Florian


    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE & IRES, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

This paper shows that the diverging results obtained in the literature on the firm size-growth relationship can be reconciled in a very general theoretical framework featuring firm-level heterogeneity and investment decision. Three main elements determine the nature and the intensity of the relationship between firm-level size and investment: the shape of operating profits with respect to size, the shape of marginal returns to investment (in terms of size) with respect to initial size and the shape of marginal cost of investment with respect to size. Any difference across countries, industries or periods in one of these three dimensions can modify the sign and the intensity of the firm size-investment and the firm size-growth relationship at equilibrium. As an example, I show that in France, heterogeneous credit constraints, which affect the shape of the marginal cost of investment, can explain cross-sectoral variations in the firm size-investment and firm size-growth relationship over the 1996-2002 period. As a consequence, from a macroeconomic viewpoint, firm size distribution is, all else equal, more right-skewed in sectors where small firms are disproportionately credit constrained and small firms participate less to sectorial growth in these sectors. The analytical framework proposed in this paper is general enough to apply to the analysis of any heterogeneous response of economic agents.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2011062.

in new window

Date of creation: 22 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011062
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

Phone: 32(10)474321
Fax: +32 10474304
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse & Benoit Mulkay & Jacques Mairesse, 1999. "Firm Level Investment in France and the United States: An Exploration of What We Have Learned in Twenty Years," Econometrics 9902001, EconWPA.
  2. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Schnitzer, Monika, 2010. "Financial constraints and innovation: Why poor countries don't catchup," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 341, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  4. Harrison, Ann E. & Love, Inessa & McMillan, Margaret S., 2004. "Global capital flows and financing constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 269-301, October.
  5. Stephen Bond & Julie Ann Elston & Jacques Mairesse & Benoît Mulkay, 2003. "Financial Factors and Investment in Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom: A Comparison Using Company Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 153-165, February.
  6. Audretsch, David B. & Elston, Julie Ann, 2002. "Does firm size matter? Evidence on the impact of liquidity constraints on firm investment behavior in Germany," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-17, January.
  7. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  8. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade liberalization, exports and technology upgrading: Evidence on the impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean firms," Economics Working Papers 1173, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity ... for Some Plants," NBER Working Papers 13297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko & Romain Ranciere, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade: Measurement and Implications," Working Papers 598, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  11. Beata S. Javorcik & Mariana Spatareanu, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Firms' Linkages with Multinationals," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 323-346, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Poncet, Sandra & Steingress, Walter & Vandenbussche, Hylke, 2009. "Financial Constraints in China: Firm-Level Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Konings, Jozef & Rizov, Marian & Vandenbussche, Hylke, 2003. "Investment and financial constraints in transition economies: micro evidence from Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 253-258, February.
  15. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are Useful: A Comment on Kaplan and Zingales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 695-705.
  16. Jozef Konings & Marian Rizov & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2002. "Investment and Credit Constraints in Transition Economies: Micro Evidence from Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania," LICOS Discussion Papers 11202, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  17. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-level Productivity…For Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099.
  18. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011062. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alain GILLIS)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.