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Untangling the relationships among growth, profitability and survival in new firms

Author

Listed:
  • Delmar, Frédéric

    () (Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship School of Economics and Management)

  • McKelvie, Alexander

    () (Syracuse University)

  • Wennberg, Karl

    () (Ratio)

Abstract

The performance of new firms is important for economic development but research has produced limited knowledge about the key relationships among growth, profitability, and survival for new firms. Based on evolutionary theory, we develop a model about how new firms resolve uncertainty about their ability to prosper in a market by monitoring changes in profitability. Our model predicts selection pressures to weed out underperforming firms and learning to allow survivors to improve performance and grow. We test our theory using a unique panel of knowledge-intensive new firms in Sweden. We find strong support for the notion that profitability enhances both survival and growth, and growth helps profitability but has a negative effect on survival. Implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Delmar, Frédéric & McKelvie, Alexander & Wennberg, Karl, 2013. "Untangling the relationships among growth, profitability and survival in new firms," Ratio Working Papers 205, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0205
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Demir, Robert & Wennberg, Karl & McKelvie, Alexander, 2016. "The Strategic Management of High-Growth Firms: A Review and Theoretical Conceptualization," Ratio Working Papers 273, The Ratio Institute.
    2. Edelman, Linda F. & Manolova, Tatiana & Shirokova, Galina & Tsukanova, Tatyana, 2016. "The impact of family support on young entrepreneurs' start-up activities," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 428-448.
    3. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:259-271 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Broström, Anders & Lööf, Hans & Nabavi, Pardis, 2016. "Inherited Advantage and Spinoff Success," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 437, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    5. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9847-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rocha, Vera & van Praag, Mirjam C. & Folta, Timothy B. & Carneiro, Anabela, 2016. "Entrepreneurial Choices of Initial Human Capital Endowments and New Venture Success," IZA Discussion Papers 9919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. McKelvie, Alexander & Brattström, Anna & Wennberg, Karl, 2013. "The Relationship Between Innovation and New Firm Growth," Ratio Working Papers 206, The Ratio Institute.
    8. Giovanni Dosi & Emanuele Pugliese & Pietro Santoleri, 2017. "Growth and survival of the `fitter'? Evidence from US new-born firms," LEM Papers Series 2017/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    9. Juan Federico & Joan-Lluis Capelleras, 2015. "The heterogeneous dynamics between growth and profits: the case of young firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 231-253, February.
    10. Wennberg, Karl & Delmar, Frédéric & McKelvie, Alexander, 2016. "Variable risk preferences in new firm growth and survival," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 408-427.
    11. Zouaghi, Ferdaous & Hirsch, Stefan & Garcia, Mercedes Sanchez, 2016. "What Drives Firm Profitability? A Multilevel Approach To The Spanish Agri-Food Sector," 56th Annual Conference, Bonn, Germany, September 28-30, 2016 244762, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    12. Giorgio Canarella & Stephen M. Miller, 2017. "The Determinants of Growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry: A Firm-Level Analysis," Working papers 2017-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    13. Siepel, Josh & Cowling, Marc & Coad, Alex, 2017. "Non-founder human capital and the long-run growth and survival of high-tech ventures," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 34-43.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; New Firms;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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