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The Industrial Revolution in Services

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  • Chang-Tai Hsieh
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

The rise in national industry concentration in the US between 1977 and 2013 is driven by a new industrial revolution in three broad non-traded sectors: services, retail, and wholesale. Sectors where national concentration is rising have increased their share of employment, and the expansion is entirely driven by the number of local markets served by firms. Firm employment per market has either increased slightly at the MSA level, or decreased substantially at the county or establishment levels. In industries with increasing concentration, the expansion into more markets is more pronounced for the top 10% firms, but is present for the bottom 90% as well. These trends have not been accompanied by economy-wide concentration. Top U.S. firms are increasingly specialized in sectors with rising industry concentration, but their aggregate employment share has remained roughly stable. We argue that these facts are consistent with the availability of a new set of fixed-cost technologies that enable adopters to produce at lower marginal costs in all markets. We present a simple model of firm size and market entry to describe the menu of new technologies and trace its implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang-Tai Hsieh & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2019. "The Industrial Revolution in Services," NBER Working Papers 25968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25968
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Aghion & Antonin Bergeaud & Timo Boppart & Peter J. Klenow & Huiyu Li, 2019. "Missing Growth from Creative Destruction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(8), pages 2795-2822, August.
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    4. Hugo Hopenhayn & Julian Neira & Rish Singhania, 2018. "From Population Growth to Firm Demographics: Implications for Concentration, Entrepreneurship and the Labor Share," NBER Working Papers 25382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maryann Feldman & Frederick Guy & Simona Iammarino, 2021. "Regional income disparities, monopoly and finance," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 14(1), pages 25-49.
    2. Pauline Affeldt & Tomaso Duso & Klaus Gugler & Joanna Piechucka, 2021. "Market Concentration in Europe: Evidence from Antitrust Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 8866, CESifo.
    3. Dan Cao & Erick Sager & Henry Hyatt & Toshihiko Mukoyama, 2019. "Firm Growth through New Establishments," 2019 Meeting Papers 1484, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2021. "Determinants of economies of scope in retail," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    5. Frederick Guy, 0. "Who wants their city to become a world city? Comment on “Expanding the international trade and investment policy agenda: The role of cities and services”," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 0, pages 1-5.
    6. Matias Covarrubias & Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2019. "From Good to Bad Concentration? U.S. Industries over the Past 30 Years," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2019, volume 34, pages 1-46, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pauline Affeldt & Tomaso Duso & Klaus Gugler & Joanna Piechucka, 2021. "Market Concentration in Europe: Evidence from Antitrust Markets," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1930, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Frederick Guy, 2020. "Who wants their city to become a world city? Comment on “Expanding the international trade and investment policy agenda: The role of cities and services”," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 3(3), pages 224-228, September.
    9. Ganglmair, Bernhard & Hahn, Nadine & Hellwig, Michael & Kann, Alexander & Peters, Bettina & Tsanko, Ilona, 2020. "Price markups, innovation, and productivity: Evidence from Germany," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, volume 8, number 222995, February.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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