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Globalization and the Size Distribution of Multiproduct Firms


  • Nocke, Volker
  • Yeaple, Stephen R


We develop a theory of multiproduct firms to analyze the effects of globalization on the distributions of firm size, scope, and productivity. In the model, firms are heterogeneous in how well they cope with expanding their product range. The model generates a negative relationship between firm size and market-to-book ratio, thus explaining the "size-discount puzzle" found in the data. Globalization induces a merger wave that leads to an improvement in average productivity. This improvement is not due to selection effects but rather due to product-level productivity effects. The model predicts that globalization leads to a flattening of the size distribution of firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Nocke, Volker & Yeaple, Stephen R, 2008. "Globalization and the Size Distribution of Multiproduct Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 6948, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6948

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vojislav Maksimovic, 2001. "The Market for Corporate Assets: Who Engages in Mergers and Asset Sales and Are There Efficiency Gains?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2019-2065, December.
    2. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    3. Breinlich, Holger, 2008. "Trade liberalization and industrial restructuring through mergers and acquisitions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 254-266, December.
    4. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2009. "The Impact of Trade on Plant Scale, Production-Run Length and Diversification," NBER Chapters,in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 557-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Raghuram Rajan & Henri Servaes & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 35-80, February.
    6. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    7. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    8. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 188-217.
    9. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2002. "The Q-Theory of Mergers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 198-204, May.
    10. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2003. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    11. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," NBER Working Papers 12322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
    13. Matsusaka, John G, 2001. "Corporate Diversification, Value Maximization, and Organizational Capabilities," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(3), pages 409-431, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Qiu, Larry D. & Zhou, Wen, 2013. "Multiproduct firms and scope adjustment in globalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 142-153.
    2. John Hutchinson & Jozef Konings & Patrick Walsh, 2010. "The Firm Size Distribution and Inter-Industry Diversification," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 37(2), pages 65-82, September.
    3. Ma, Yue & Tang, Heiwai & Zhang, Yifan, 2014. "Factor Intensity, product switching, and productivity: Evidence from Chinese exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 349-362.
    4. Sanne Hiller, 2013. "Does immigrant employment matter for export sales? Evidence from Denmark," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(2), pages 369-394, June.
    5. Jung, Jaewon & Mercenier, Jean, 2014. "On modeling task, skill and technology upgrading effects of globalization with heterogeneous labor," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 49-62.
    6. Tan, Yong & Han, Jian & Ma, Yeqing, 2015. "Multi-product firms, product scope, and the policy of export tax rebate," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 33-46.
    7. Lorz Oliver & Wrede Matthias, 2009. "Trade and Variety in a Model of Endogenous Product Differentiation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-14, November.
    8. Pierce, Justin R., 2011. "Plant-level responses to antidumping duties: Evidence from U.S. manufacturers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 222-233.
    9. Lopresti, John, 2016. "Multiproduct firms and product scope adjustment in trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 160-173.

    More about this item


    firm heterogeneity; firm size distribution; merger wave; multiproduct firms; productivity; size discount; trade liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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