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Understanding the Variations in Gibrat's Law with a Markov-Perfect Dynamic Industry Model

  • Ana Sofia Domingues Rodrigues
  • Christopher A. Laincz

Gibrat's Law of proportionate effect, as applied to firms, states that the growth rate of a firm is independent of its size. Empirical work on firm dynamics finds crucial deviations from Gibrat's Law such as smaller firms growing faster than larger firms (Evans, 1987, and Hall, 1987), a negative relationship between the variance of growth rates and size (Dunne and Hughes, 1994), and first-order positive autocorrelation in the growth rates (Kumar, 1995). Moreover, the degree of deviation from Gibrat's Law varies across industries. This paper contributes to our understanding of the forces that make Gibrat's Law a close, but imperfect approximation of firm size distributions and seeks to determine potential sources of cross-industry variation. Here, we employ an extension of the Ericson-Pakes (1995) theoretical framework that allows for firm growth developed by Laincz (2004a). By varying key parameters, the simulations demonstrate potential sources for the various, and sometimes conflicting, results on Gibrat's Law uncovered in the empirical literature

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 with number 173.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf4:173
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  1. Hart, Peter E & Oulton, Nicholas, 1996. "Growth and Size of Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1242-52, September.
  2. Jose A. F. Machado & Jose Mata, 2000. "Box-Cox quantile regression and the distribution of firm sizes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 253-274.
  3. Laincz, Christopher A., 2005. "Market structure and endogenous productivity growth: how do R&D subsidies affect market structure?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 187-223, January.
  4. Kumar, M S, 1985. "Growth, Acquisition Activity and Firm Size: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 327-38, March.
  5. Singh, Ajit & Whittington, Geoffrey, 1975. "The Size and Growth of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 15-26, January.
  6. Bronwyn H. Hall, 1986. "The Relationship Between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," NBER Working Papers 1965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli, 2001. "Industry Dynamics and the Distribution of Firm Sizes: A Non-Parametric Approach," LEM Papers Series 2001/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  8. McCloughan, Patrick, 1995. "Simulation of Concentration Development from Modified Gibrat Growth-Entry-Exit Processes," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 405-33, December.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  10. Evans, David S, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 567-81, June.
  11. Roy Thurik & Enrico Santarelli & David Audretsch & Luuk Klomp, 2002. "Gibrat's Law: Are the Services Different?," Scales Research Reports H200201, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  12. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
  13. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  14. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
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