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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.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2008/20.

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Date of creation: 02 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2008/20
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  1. Michael Binder, Cheng Hsiao, and M. Hashem Pesaran, 2001. "Estimation and Inference in Short Panel Vector Autoregressions with Unit Roots and Cointegration," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 36, Society for Computational Economics.
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  4. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2006. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 295-327.
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  8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 101-115, Fall.
  9. Giulio Bottazzi & Alex Coad & Nadia Jacoby & Angelo Secchi, 2011. "Corporate growth and industrial dynamics: evidence from French manufacturing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 103-116.
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  14. Alex Coad, 2007. "A Closer Look at Serial Growth Rate Correlation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 69-82, August.
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  17. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
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  19. Steve Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  22. Alex Coad, 2007. "Neoclassical vs Evolutionary Theories of Financial Constraints : Critique and Prospectus," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00144415, HAL.
  23. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
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