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Disentangling the firm growth process: evidence from a recursive panel VAR


  • Alexander Coad


We attempt to describe the coevolution of employment growth, sales growth and growth of profits in a panel of French manufacturing firms 1996-2004. Our analysis entails ‘recursive’ panel vector autoregressions, whereby we impose the structure of employment growth leading to contemporaneous sales growth, which in turn is associated with contemporaneous growth of profits. We observe that whilst employment growth has a direct negative association with profit growth, there are indirect effects through which employment growth leads to sales growth which in turn has a large effect on profits growth. The net effect of employment growth is thus positive growth of profits. Counter to some ‘replicator dynamics’ theories of industrial development, profit growth is not followed by much subsequent growth of employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Coad, 2007. "Disentangling the firm growth process: evidence from a recursive panel VAR," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-15, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2007-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giulio Bottazzi & Alex Coad & Nadia Jacoby & Angelo Secchi, 2011. "Corporate growth and industrial dynamics: evidence from French manufacturing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 103-116.
    2. Binder, Michael & Hsiao, Cheng & Pesaran, M. Hashem, 2005. "Estimation And Inference In Short Panel Vector Autoregressions With Unit Roots And Cointegration," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(04), pages 795-837, August.
    3. Alex Coad, 2007. "Firm growth : a survey," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne r07024, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    4. Metcalfe, J S, 1994. "Competition, Fisher's Principle and Increasing Returns in the Selection Process," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 327-346, November.
    5. Coad, Alex, 2007. "Testing the principle of `growth of the fitter': The relationship between profits and firm growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 370-386, September.
    6. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    7. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
    8. Love, Inessa & Zicchino, Lea, 2006. "Financial development and dynamic investment behavior: Evidence from panel VAR," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 190-210, May.
    9. Stanca, Luca & Gallegati, Mauro, 1999. "The Dynamic Relation between Financial Positions and Investment: Evidence from Company Account Data," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 551-572, September.
    10. Alex Coad, 2007. "Exploring the "mechanics" of firm growth : evidence from a short-panel VAR," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne r07037, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    11. Alex Coad, 2007. "A Closer Look at Serial Growth Rate Correlation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 31(1), pages 69-82, August.
    12. Stephen Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Delmar, Frederic & Davidsson, Per & Gartner, William B., 2003. "Arriving at the high-growth firm," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 189-216, March.
    14. Geroski, Paul A, 1999. "The Growth of Firms in Theory and in Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 2092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    16. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 101-115, Fall.
    17. Alex Coad & Rekha Rao, 2010. "Firm growth and R&D expenditure," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 127-145.
    18. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
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    More about this item


    Firm Growth; Panel VAR; Recursive VAR; Employment Growth; Industrial Dynamics Length 15 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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