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Firm Size Distributions : An overview of steady-state distributions resulting from firm dynamics models

  • Gerrit de Wit
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    Empirical firm size distributions are the cumulated result of underlying firm dynamics involving entry of new firms and growth, decline, and exits of incumbent firms. In this improved version of the research�report "Firm size distributions" (H200306), we give an overview of firm size distributions that result as steady states from models differing in the way these firm dynamics are modelled. In the process we (i) derive common results and explain seemingly contradictory results, (ii) propose new functional forms to describe firm size distributions, (iii) give insight in the interrelationships between the distributions in terms of underlying firm dynamics, (iv) give possible firm dynamical interpretations of the parameters of the distributions, and (v) analyse to which extent the steadystate approach is able to explain the shape of firm size distributions that are encountered in practice.

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    File URL: http://www.entrepreneurship-sme.eu/pdf-ez/N200418.pdf
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    Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number N200418.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: 29 Dec 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:n200418
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    1. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-74, August.
    2. Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
    3. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
    4. McDonald, James B, 1984. "Some Generalized Functions for the Size Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 647-63, May.
    5. Stanley, Michael H. R. & Buldyrev, Sergey V. & Havlin, Shlomo & Mantegna, Rosario N. & Salinger, Michael A. & Eugene Stanley, H., 1995. "Zipf plots and the size distribution of firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 453-457, October.
    6. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
    7. Blank, Aharon & Solomon, Sorin, 2000. "Power laws in cities population, financial markets and internet sites (scaling in systems with a variable number of components)," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 287(1), pages 279-288.
    8. Evans, David S., 1986. "The Relationship Between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 86-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    9. Reed, William J., 2001. "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 15-19, December.
    10. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers 1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    11. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
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