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New goods and the size distribution of firms

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  • Erzo G. J. Luttmer

Abstract

This paper describes a simple model of aggregate and firm growth based on the introduction of new goods. An incumbent firm can combine labor with blueprints for goods it already produces to develop new blueprints. Every worker in the economy is also a potential entrepreneur who can design a new blueprint from scratch and set up a new firm. The implied firm size distribution closely matches the fat tail observed in the data when the marginal entrepreneur is far out in the tail of the entrepreneurial skill distribution. The model produces a variance of firm growth that declines with size. But the decline is more rapid than suggested by the evidence. The model also predicts a new-firm entry rate equal to only 2.5% per annum, instead of the observed rate of 10% in U.S. data.

Suggested Citation

  • Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "New goods and the size distribution of firms," Working Papers 649, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:649
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Sterk & Petr Sedláček & Benjamin Pugsley, 2021. "The Nature of Firm Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(2), pages 547-579, February.
    2. Gil, Pedro Mazeda, 2010. "Stylised facts and other empirical evidence on firm dynamics, business cycle and growth," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 73-80, June.
    3. Garicano, Luis & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2012. "Organizing growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 623-656.
    4. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Tomás Burstein, 2010. "Innovation, Firm Dynamics, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 433-484, June.

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