IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Firms, Destinations, and Aggregate Fluctuations

  • di Giovanni, Julian
  • Levchenko, Andrei A.
  • Méjean, Isabelle

This paper provides a forensic account of the role of individual firms in generating aggregate fluctuations using data covering the universe of French firms for the period 1990–2007. We derive a theoretically-founded set of estimating equations that decompose firms’ annual sales growth rate into different components. The firm-specific component contributes substantially to aggregate sales volatility, mattering about as much as the components capturing shocks that are common across firms within a sector or country. We then decompose the firm-specific component to provide evidence on two mechanisms that generate aggregate fluctuations from microeconomic shocks: (i) when the firm size distribution is fat-tailed, idiosyncratic shocks to large firms contribute to aggregate fluctuations (Gabaix, 2011), and (ii) sizable aggregate volatility can arise from idiosyncratic shocks due to input-output linkages across the economy (Acemoglu et al., 2012). We find that firm linkages are approximately twice as important as granularity in driving aggregate fluctuations.

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: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9168.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9168
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

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. Samuel S. Kortum & Jonathan Eaton & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2010. "Trade and the Global Recession," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_002, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Andrew T. Foerster & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Mark W. Watson, 2008. "Sectoral vs. Aggregate Shocks: A Structural Factor Analysis of Industrial Production," NBER Working Papers 14389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Rancière, Romain, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade: Measurement and Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 7773, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yoonsoo Lee & Toshihiko Mukoyama, 2008. "Entry, exit and plant-level dynamics over the business cycle," Working Paper 0718, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Alan C. Stockman, 1987. "Sectoral and National Aggregate Disturbances to Industrial Output in Seven European Countries," NBER Working Papers 2313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," NBER Working Papers 5260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, 05.
  9. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  10. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Working Papers 12354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Claudia Canals & Xavier Gabaix & Josep M. Vilarrubia & David Weinstein, 2007. "Trade patterns, trade balances and idiosyncratic shocks," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0721, Banco de Espa�a.
  12. Gourio, Francois & Kashyap, Anil K, 2007. "Investment spikes: New facts and a general equilibrium exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(Supplemen), pages 1-22, September.
  13. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2008. "Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," Working Papers 580, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  14. Sophie Osotimehin, 2013. "Aggregate productivity and the allocation of resources over the business cycle," Virginia Economics Online Papers 404, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  15. Blum, Bernardo S. & Claro, Sebastian & Horstmann, Ignatius J., 2013. "Occasional and perennial exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 65-74.
  16. CASTRO, Rui & CLEMENTI, Gian Luca & LEE, Yoonsoo, 2010. "Cross-Sectoral Variation in Firm-Level Idiosyncratic Risk," Cahiers de recherche 15-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  17. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  18. Teresa C. Fort & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2013. "How Firms Respond to Business Cycles: The Role of Firm Age and Firm Size," NBER Working Papers 19134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger, 2006. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources and Micro-Macro Links," NBER Working Papers 12167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Nicolas Berman & Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer, 2012. "How do Different Exporters React to Exchange Rate Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 437-492.
  21. Daron Acemoglu & Vasco Carvalho & Asuman Ozdaglar & Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi, 2011. "The network origins of aggregate fluctuations," Economics Working Papers 1291, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  22. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  23. Dupor, Bill, 1999. "Aggregation and irrelevance in multi-sector models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 391-409, April.
  24. Shea, John S, 2002. "Complementarities and Comovements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 412-33, May.
  25. Vasco Carvalho & Xavier Gabaix, 2010. "The great diversification and its undoing," Economics Working Papers 1208, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2010.
  26. David Thesmar & Mathias Thoenig, 2011. "Contrasting Trends in Firm Volatility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 143-80, October.
  27. repec:oup:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:2:p:395-409 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Hanno Lustig & Bryan Kelly, 2014. "Firm Volatility in Granular Networks," 2014 Meeting Papers 253, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  29. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. David Thesmar & Mathias Thoenig, 2011. "Contrasting Trends in Firm Volatility," Post-Print hal-00635987, HAL.
  31. Andrew T. Foerster & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Mark W. Watson, 2011. "Sectoral versus Aggregate Shocks: A Structural Factor Analysis of Industrial Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1 - 38.
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:cpr:ceprdp:9168. 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: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

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.