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Demand or productivity: What determines firm growth?


  • Pozzi, Andrea
  • Schivardi, Fabiano


We disentangle the contribution of unobserved heterogeneity in idiosyncratic demand and productivity to firm growth. We use a model of monopolistic competition with Cobb-Douglas production and a dataset of Italian manufacturing firms containing unique information on firm-level prices to reach three main conclusions. First, demand shocks are at least as important as productivity shocks for firm growth. Second, firms respond to shocks less than a frictionless model would predict, suggesting the existence of adjustment frictions. Finally, the degree of under-response is much larger for TFP shocks. This implies the existence of frictions with differential effects according to the nature of the shock, unlike the typical frictions studied by the literature on factor misallocation. We consider hurdles to firm reorganization as one such friction and show that they hamper firms' responses to TFP shocks but not to demand shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Pozzi, Andrea & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2012. "Demand or productivity: What determines firm growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9184, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9184

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Ellul & Marco Pagano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2014. "Employment and Wage Insurance within Firms - Worldwide Evidence," EIEF Working Papers Series 1402, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Sep 2017.
    2. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan & Dimitri Szerman, 2015. "Procuring Firm Growth: The Effects of Government Purchases on Firm Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 21219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Henrik Braconier & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Ben Westmore, 2015. "Policy challenges for the next 50 years," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2015(1), pages 9-66.
    4. Carlsson, Mikael & Messina, Julián & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2014. "Firm-level shocks and labor adjustments," Working Paper Series 2014:28, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Sara Calligaris, 2015. "Misallocation and Total Factor Productivity in Italy: Evidence from Firm-Level Data," CEIS Research Paper 357, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Oct 2015.
    6. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:28-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2015. "A dynamic analysis of entry regulations and productivity in retail trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 67-80.
    8. -, 2014. "Latin American Economic Outlook 2015: Education, skills and innovation for development," Coediciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 37446 edited by Ocde, March.
    9. Carlos Santos & Luis F. Costa & Paulo Brito, 2016. "Demand, Supply and Markup Fluctuations," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp609, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    10. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:3:p:348-365 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Matteo Bugamelli & Francesca Lotti & Monica Amici & Emanuela Ciapanna & Fabrizio Colonna & Francesco D’Amuri & Silvia Giacomelli & Andrea Linarello & Francesco Manaresi & Giuliana Palumbo & Filippo Sc, 2018. "Productivity growth in Italy: a tale of a slow-motion change," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item


    demand heterogeneity; firm growth; misallocation; TFP;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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