IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/5461.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Small is Beautiful but Size Matters: The Asymmetric Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Small and Large Businesses

Author

Listed:
  • Ghosal, Vivek

Abstract

Against the backdrop of the theories developed in the real options and financing constraints literatures, this paper examines the impact of profit uncertainty and sunk costs on firms’ entry and exit decisions. For our empirical analysis, we compile an extensive dataset containing information on 267 U.S. manufacturing industries over a 30-year period containing industry-specific information on the number of firms and establishments, the size distribution of establishments, measures of sunk capital costs and profit uncertainty, among others. Our dynamic panel data estimates show that greater uncertainty about profits, especially in conjunction with higher sunk costs, results in (1) a marked decrease in the number of small firms and establishments; (2) a less skewed size distribution of firms and establishments; and (3) a marginal increase in industry output concentration. In sharp contrast, large establishments seem virtually unaffected. The results point to uncertainty in conjunction with sunk costs fundamentally affecting firms’ decision-making and altering the structure of industries by putting smaller businesses at a disadvantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghosal, Vivek, 2007. "Small is Beautiful but Size Matters: The Asymmetric Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Small and Large Businesses," MPRA Paper 5461, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5461
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/5461/1/MPRA_paper_5461.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Business Cycles and the Relationship Between Concentration and Price-Cost Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
    2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1988. " Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 567-591, July.
    3. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. "Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
    4. Elie Appelbaum & Chin Lim, 1985. "Contestable Markets under Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 28-40, Spring.
    5. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    6. Luigi Guiso & Giuseppe Parigi, 1999. "Investment and Demand Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 185-227.
    7. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    8. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932.
    9. Ghosal, Vivek & Loungani, Prakash, 1996. "Product Market Competition and the Impact of Price Uncertainty on Investment: Some Evidence from US Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 217-228, June.
    10. Jovanovic, Boyan & MacDonald, Glenn M, 1994. "The Life Cycle of a Competitive Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 322-347, April.
    11. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    12. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-638, June.
    13. John Sutton, 1997. "Technologie a tržní struktura [Technology and Market Structure]," Politická ekonomie, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 1997(1), pages 29-45.
    14. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    15. Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1993. "Profit Margins and the Business Cycle: Evidence from UK Manufacturing Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 29-50, March.
    16. Thomas F. Cooley & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2001. "Financial Markets and Firm Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1286-1310, December.
    17. Kessides, Ioannis N, 1990. "Market Concentration, Contestability, and Sunk Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 614-622, November.
    18. Brito, Paulo & Mello, Antonio S., 1995. "Financial constraints and firm post-entry performance," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 543-565, December.
    19. Robert Lensink & Hong Bo & Elmer Sterken, 2001. "Investment, Capital Market Imperfections, and Uncertainty," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1770, September.
    20. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1987. "Oligopoly Supergames: Some Empirical Evidence on Prices and Margins," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 379-398, June.
    21. Pakes, Ariel & Ericson, Richard, 1998. "Empirical Implications of Alternative Models of Firm Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-45, March.
    22. Claudio Michelacci & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2009. "Financial Markets and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 795-827.
    23. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-1368, December.
    24. Jonathan P. O'Brien & Timothy B. Folta & Douglas R. Johnson, 2003. "A real options perspective on entrepreneurial entry in the face of uncertainty," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 515-533.
    25. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
    26. Schmalensee, Richard, 1989. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 951-1009, Elsevier.
    27. Ghosal, Vivek, 2000. "Product market competition and the industry price-cost markup fluctuations:: role of energy price and monetary changes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 415-444, April.
    28. Tobias F. Rötheli, 1998. "Forecasting among alternative strategies in the management of uncertainty," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 179-187.
    29. Lambson, V.E., 1989. "Industry Evolution With Sunk Costs And Uncertian Market Conditions," Working papers 8904, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    30. Vivek Ghosal & Prakash Loungani, 2000. "The Differential Impact of Uncertainty on Investment in Small and Large Businesses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 338-343, May.
    31. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    32. Spencer, Barbara J. & Brander, James A., 1992. "Pre-commitment and flexibility : Applications to oligopoly theory," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1601-1626, December.
    33. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
    34. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1990. "Macroeconomic Models with Equity and Credit Rationing," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 15-42, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Delli Gatti, Domenico & Gallegati, Mauro & Giulioni, Gianfranco & Palestrini, Antonio, 2003. "Financial fragility, patterns of firms' entry and exit and aggregate dynamics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 79-97, May.
    36. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sasan Bakhtiari & Robert Breunig & Lisa Magnani & Jacquelyn Zhang, 2020. "Financial Constraints and Small and Medium Enterprises: A Review," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 96(315), pages 506-523, December.
    2. Piccolo, Salvatore, 2011. "A note on free entry under uncertainty: The role of asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 256-259, June.
    3. Banerjee, Tannista & Siebert, Ralph, 2017. "Dynamic impact of uncertainty on R&D cooperation formation and research performance: Evidence from the bio-pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1255-1271.
    4. Maghyereh, Aktham & Abdoh, Hussein, 2020. "Asymmetric effects of oil price uncertainty on corporate investment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    5. Karlyn Mitchell & Douglas Pearce, 2011. "Lending technologies, lending specialization, and minority access to small-business loans," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 277-304, October.
    6. Ioannis Kessides & Li Tang, 2010. "Sunk Costs, Market Contestability, and the Size Distribution of Firms," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 37(3), pages 215-236, November.
    7. Vivek Ghosal, 2009. "Business Strategy and Firm Reorganization under Changing Market Conditions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2673, CESifo.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ghosal, Vivek, 2002. "Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Firm Survival and Industry Dynamics," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 86, Royal Economic Society.
    2. Vivek Ghosal, 2003. "Endemic Volatility of Firms and Establishments: Are Real Options Effects Important?," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-13, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    3. Vivek Ghosal, 2003. "Firm and Establishment Volatility: The Role of Sunk Costs, Profit Uncertainty and Technological Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 980, CESifo.
    4. Ghosal, Vivek & Ye, Yang, 2019. "The impact of uncertainty on the number of businesses," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 105(C).
    5. Vivek Ghosal & Yang Ye, 2015. "Uncertainty and the employment dynamics of small and large businesses," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 529-558, March.
    6. Bhattacharjee, A. & Higson, C. & Holly, S. & Kattuman, P., 2004. "Business Failure in UK and US Quoted Firms: Impact of Macroeconomic Instability and the Role of Legal Institutions," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0420, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1374, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Yosuke Okada, 2005. "Competition and Productivity in Japanese Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 11540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. James Bergin & Dan Bernhardt, 2008. "Industry dynamics with stochastic demand," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 41-68, March.
    10. Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2007. "Entrepreneurship and the process of firms’ entry, survival and growth," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 455-488, June.
    11. Vivek Ghosal & Yang Ye, 2013. "Business Decision-Making under Uncertainty: Evidence from Employment and Number of Businesses," CESifo Working Paper Series 4312, CESifo.
    12. Aytekin GÜVEN & Arzu AKKOYUNLU-WIGLEY, 2018. "The Effects of Market Structure on Uncertainty-Investment Relationship: Evidence from Turkish Manufacturing Industry," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 26(37).
    13. Sean Holly & Emiliano Santoro, 2007. "Financial Fragility, Heterogeneous Firms and the Cross Section of the Business Cycle," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 96, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    14. Ghosal, Vivek, 2000. "Product market competition and the industry price-cost markup fluctuations:: role of energy price and monetary changes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 415-444, April.
    15. Vivek Ghosal & Prakash Loungani, 1996. "Firm size and the impact of profit-margin uncertainty on investment: do financing constraints play a role?," International Finance Discussion Papers 557, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. Chirinko, Robert S. & Schaller, Huntley, 2009. "The irreversibility premium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 390-408, April.
    17. Arnab Bhattacharjee & Chris Higson & Sean Holly & Paul Kattuman, 2007. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Business Exit: Determinants of Failures and Acquisitions of UK Firms," CDMA Working Paper Series 200713, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    18. Vivek Ghosal, 2010. "Quantifying The Role Played By Sunk Capital Costs In Real-Options Models," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(s1), pages 343-358, July.
    19. Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Is entrepreneurship necessarily good? Microeconomic evidence from developed and developing countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(6), pages 1453-1495, December.
    20. Colombo, Massimo G. & Delmastro, Marco & Grilli, Luca, 2004. "Entrepreneurs' human capital and the start-up size of new technology-based firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1183-1211, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Uncertainty; sunk costs; real options; financing constraints; decision-making; small businesses;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5461. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joachim Winter (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.