IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Financial Fragility and the Distribution of Firm Growth Rates


  • Giulio Bottazzi
  • Angelo Secchi


Analyzing a comprehensive database of limited liability manufacturing firms this paper investigates the relation between a firm's financial situation and its conditional expected growth rate. Specifically, using quantile regressions, we obtain a quantitative characterization of this relation for different quantiles of the growth rates distribution. We find that simple location-shift models, as for instance the OLS, provide a poor and potentially misleading representation of the growth-finance relation. Indeed, the vast majority of the explanatory variables considered are associated with modifications in the support of the growth rates distribution (scale-effect), even when the relation of the same variables with the expected growth is negligible. Moreover, we show that financial conditions impact differently on the growth dynamics of young and old firms. Finally, our investigations reveal that the results obtained with quantile regressions appear robust with respect to possible mispecifications of the empirical model.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2013. "Financial Fragility and the Distribution of Firm Growth Rates," LEM Papers Series 2013/13, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2013/13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2014. "Financial constraints and firm dynamics," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 99-116, January.
    3. Ilke Van Beveren, 2012. "Total Factor Productivity Estimation: A Practical Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 98-128, February.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    5. Silverberg, Gerald & Verspagen, Bart, 1995. "An Evolutionary Model of Long Term Cyclical Variations of Catching Up and Falling Behind," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 209-227, September.
    6. Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Marco Vivarelli & Peter Voigt, 2009. "R&D in SMEs: a paradox?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 3-11, June.
    7. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "Productivity, profitability and financial performance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 711-751, August.
    8. Zoltán J. Ács & Pamela Mueller, 2015. "Employment effects of business dynamics: Mice, Gazelles and Elephants," Chapters,in: Global Entrepreneurship, Institutions and Incentives, chapter 16, pages 304-319 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Grazzi, 2006. "Technologies as problem-solving procedures and technologies as input--output relations: some perspectives on the theory of production," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 173-202, February.
    10. Heinz Hollenstein, 2005. "Determinants of International Activities: Are SMEs Different?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 431-450, June.
    11. Richard Ericson & Ariel Pakes, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82.
    12. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2005. "Comparative analysis of firm demographics and survival: evidence from micro-level sources in OECD countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 365-391, June.
    13. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, March.
    14. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
    15. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    16. John R. Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2006. "Plant turnover and productivity growth in Canadian manufacturing," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 417-465, June.
    17. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
    18. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2006. "Explaining the distribution of firm growth rates," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 235-256, June.
    19. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Robert E. Carpenter & Bruce C. Petersen, 2002. "Is The Growth Of Small Firms Constrained By Internal Finance?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 298-309, May.
    21. Plehn-Dujowich, Jose M., 2009. "Entry and exit by new versus existing firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 214-222, March.
    22. Alex Coad & Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Werner Hölzl & Dan Johansson & Paul Nightingale, 2014. "High-growth firms: introduction to the special section," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 91-112, February.
    23. Bottazzi, Giulio & Dosi, Giovanni & Rocchetti, Gaia, 2001. "Modes of Knowledge Accumulation, Entry Regimes and Patterns of Industrial Evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 609-638, September.
    24. Silverberg, Gerald & Dosi, Giovanni & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1988. "Innovation, Diversity and Diffusion: A Self-organisation Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1032-1054, December.
    25. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
    26. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    27. Giovanni Dosi & Alfonso Gambardella & Marco Grazzi & Luigi Orsenigo, 2007. "Technological revolutions and the evolution of industrial structures. Assessing the impact of new technologies upon size, pattern of growth and boundaries of the firms," LEM Papers Series 2007/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    28. Amil Petrin & James Levinsohn, 2012. "Measuring aggregate productivity growth using plant-level data," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(4), pages 705-725, December.
    29. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    30. Acs, Zoltan J & Preston, Lee, 1997. "Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Technology, and Globalization: Introduction to a Special Issue on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Global Economy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 1-6, February.
    31. Griliches, Zvi & Regev, Haim, 1995. "Firm productivity in Israeli industry 1979-1988," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 175-203, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Firm growth; Quantile regression; Financial constraints; Firm size dis- tribution; Credit risk ratings;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ssa:lemwps:2013/13. 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: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.