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Growth Processes of Italian Manufacturing Firms


  • Alex Coad
  • Rekha Rao
  • Federico Tamagni


This paper presents a multidimensional empirical analysis of firm growth. Exploiting census data on Italian manufacturing firms, 1989-1997, we estimate a reduced-form VAR to analyze the co-evolution of employment growth, sales growth, growth of profits and labour productivity growth. Our main findings suggest that (i) employment growth precedes sales growth; (ii) productivity growth lacks any strong association with subsequent growth of the other indicators; (iii) profits growth represents the `absorbing dimension' of the growth processes. This picture contrasts with 'accelerator models', predicting sales are the driver of the growth process, and is also at odds with theories of firm-industry evolution assuming productivity or profits advantages to be the driver of strong market selection/reallocation mechanisms. Instead, the findings reveal the existence of (weak) Penrose and (strong) Kaldor-Verdoorn effects, and more generally convey the view that employment growth is the key driver of firm expansion, while profits, once made, are not reinvested.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Coad & Rekha Rao & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "Growth Processes of Italian Manufacturing Firms," LEM Papers Series 2008/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2008/20

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuri YILDIRIM, 2011. "No Appealing Future For High Growth – Low Profitability Firms: Evidence from Turkey’s Top 1000," Iktisat Isletme ve Finans, Bilgesel Yayincilik, vol. 26(307), pages 31-45.
    2. Daniele Moschella & Federico Tamagni & Xiaodan Yu, 2017. "Persistent high-growth firms in China's manufacturing," LEM Papers Series 2017/03, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Giulio Bottazzi & Giovanni Dosi & Nadia Jacoby & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2010. "Corporate performances and market selection: some comparative evidence," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1953-1996, December.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Guglielmo Forges Davanzati & Rosario Patalano & Guido Traficante, 2016. "The Italian economic decline in a Kaldorian theoretical perspective," Working Papers PKWP1606, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    7. Coad, Alex & Segarra, Agustí & Teruel, Mercedes, 2013. "Like milk or wine: Does firm performance improve with age?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 173-189.
    8. repec:eco:journ3:2017-04-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Millemaci, Emanuele & Ofria, Ferdinando, 2016. "Supply and demand-side determinants of productivity growth in Italian regions," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 138-146.
    10. Álvarez, Roberto & Vergara, Sebastián, 2013. "Trade exposure, survival and growth of small and medium-size firms," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 185-201.
    11. Seungkyu Yoo & Jaejun Kim, 2015. "The Dynamic Relationship between Growth and Profitability under Long-Term Recession: The Case of Korean Construction Companies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(12), pages 1-17, December.
    12. repec:lrk:eeaart:35_3_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Cahill, Sean & Rich, Tabitha & Cozzarin, Brian, 2015. "Innovation in the Canadian Food Processing Industry: Evidence from the Workplace and Employee Survey," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 18(2).
    14. Lee, Sanghoon, 2014. "The relationship between growth and profit: evidence from firm-level panel data," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 1-11.

    More about this item


    Household Consumption Expenditure; Budget Shares; Sum of Log-Normal Distributions;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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