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The nature of firm growth

Author

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  • Pugsley, Benjamin W.
  • Sedlacek, Petr
  • Sterk, Vincent

Abstract

Only half of all startups survive past the age of ve and surviving businesses grow at vastly di erent speeds. Using micro data on employment in the population of U.S. businesses, we estimate that the lion's share of these differences is driven by ex-ante heterogeneity across fi rms, rather than by ex-post shocks. We embed such heterogeneity in a fi rm dynamics model and study how ex-ante differences shape the distribution of fi rm size, "up-or-out" dynamics, and the associated gains in aggregate output. "Gazelles" - a small subset of startups with particularly high growth potential - emerge as key drivers of these outcomes. Analyzing changes in the distribution of ex-ante fi rm heterogeneity over time reveals that gazelles are driven towards extinction, creating substantial aggregate losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Pugsley, Benjamin W. & Sedlacek, Petr & Sterk, Vincent, 2017. "The nature of firm growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87173, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:87173
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Fontoura Gouveia & Christian Osterhold, 2018. "Fear the walking dead: zombie firms, spillovers and exit barriers," Working Papers w201811, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. Christoph Albert & Andrea Caggese, 2018. "Cyclical fluctuations, financial shocks, and the entry of fast-growing entrepreneurial startups," Economics Working Papers 1628, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2019.
    3. Ufuk Akcigit & Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood & Veronika Penciakova, 2019. "Synergizing Ventures," 2019 Meeting Papers 36, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Lee Ohanian, 2018. "The Lack of European Productivity Growth: Causes and Lessons for the U.S," PIER Working Paper Archive 18-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 07 Sep 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    firm dynamics; startups; macroeconomics; big data;

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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