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Unraveling the relationship between firm size and economic development: The roles of embodied and disembodied technological progress

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  • André van Stel
  • Emilio Congregado
  • Antonio Golpe

Abstract

In the last decade, an increasing body of literature has studied the relation between economic development and the rate of independent entrepreneurship. For several developed countries, this relation seems to have changed from a negative relation into a positive one. However, the role of technology, and in particular the roles of embodied and disembodied technological progress, in shaping this relation has not yet been established. We estimate a model, based on Lucas (1978), able to disentangle the roles of both these types of technological progress in determining average firm size (a concept closely but inversely related to the rate of independent entrepreneurship) for 23 OECD countries over the period 1972-2008. Our estimations allow us to establish, for each country, the relative importance of embodied technological change, vis-à-vis disembodied technological change, in determining average firm size. Our results suggest that, notwithstanding the rise of independent entrepreneurship observed in many countries over the last few decades, economies of scale and scope (embodied technological change) continue to play an important role in many advanced economies.

Suggested Citation

  • André van Stel & Emilio Congregado & Antonio Golpe, 2012. "Unraveling the relationship between firm size and economic development: The roles of embodied and disembodied technological progress," Scales Research Reports H201109, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h201109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mirjam Praag & André Stel, 2013. "The more business owners, the merrier? The role of tertiary education," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 335-357, August.
    2. Andre van Stel, "undated". "COMPENDIA: Harmonizing business ownership data across countries and over time," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2005-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    3. Abdulnasser Hatemi-J, 2008. "Tests for cointegration with two unknown regime shifts with an application to financial market integration," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 497-505, November.
    4. André van Stel & Chantal Hartog & J. Cieslik Cieslik, 2010. "Measuring Business Ownership Across Countries and Over Time: Extending the COMPENDIA Data Base," Scales Research Reports H201019, EIM Business and Policy Research.
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