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Natural Selection: Firm Performance Following the Canterbury Earthquakes

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Fabling

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • Arthur Grimes

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • Levente Timar

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and GNS Science)

Abstract

The Canterbury earthquakes in September 2010 and February 2011 caused major upheaval to the people of the region. The second quake killed 185 people, forced many from their homes, and closed Christchurch’s central business district. This paper examines the consequential effects on business in the region, paying particular attention to heterogeneity in firm-level outcomes. Consistent with aggregate statistics, we quantify substantial variation in firm outcomes by industry and by location. In addition, we show that firms’ prior financial viability heavily influenced their chance of survival. Conditional on continuing to operate, average profitability returned to pre-quake levels relatively quickly, albeit subject to reduced inputs. Taken together, these effects support economic models where firm exit is driven by selection on profitability.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes & Levente Timar, 2014. "Natural Selection: Firm Performance Following the Canterbury Earthquakes," Working Papers 14_08, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:14_08
    as

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    File URL: http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/14_08.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Law & Nathan McLellan, 2005. "The Contributions from Firm Entry, Exit and Continuation to Labour Productivity Growth in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 05/01, New Zealand Treasury.
    2. Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes, 2009. "The "suite" smell of success: complementary personnel practices and firm performance," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2009/13, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    3. Matthew A. COLE & Robert J R ELLIOTT & OKUBO Toshihiro & Eric STROBL, 2013. "Natural Disasters and Plant Survival: The impact of the Kobe earthquake," Discussion papers 13063, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & C. J. Krizan, 2010. "Mom-and-Pop Meet Big Box: Complements or Substitutes?," NBER Chapters, in: Cities and Entrepreneurship, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Richard Fabling, 2009. "A Rough Guide to New Zealand's Longitudinal Business Database," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-103, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Criscuolo, Chiara & Gal, Peter N. & Menon, Carlo, 2014. "The dynamics of employment growth: new evidence from 18 countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60286, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2005. "Comparative analysis of firm demographics and survival: evidence from micro-level sources in OECD countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 365-391, June.
    8. Emek Basker & Javier Miranda, 2014. "Taken By Storm: Business Survival In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina," Working Papers 14-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Emek Basker & Javier Miranda, 2014. "Taken by Storm: Business Financing, Survival, and Contagion in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," Working Papers 1406, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 23 Oct 2014.
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    11. Richard Fabling, 2011. "Keeping it Together: Tracking Firms on New Zealand’s Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 11_01, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aloysius Gunadi Brata & Henri L. F. De Groot & Wouter Zant, 2018. "Shaking up the Firm Survival: Evidence from Yogyakarta (Indonesia)," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-14, April.
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    3. Daniel Arce & Douglas Cook & Robert Kieschnick, 2015. "On the evolution of corporate capital structures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 561-583, July.
    4. Greer, Glen & Kaye-Blake, Bill, 2017. "The impacts of research in an era of more stringent performance evaluation," 2017 Conference, October 19-20, Rotorua, New Zealand 269522, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural disasters; business survival; response to shocks; difference-in-difference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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