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How and why do Firms differ?

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How do firms differ, and why do they differ even within narrowly defined industries? Using evidence from six high-tech, manufacturing industries covering a 24-year period, we show that differences in sales, materials, labor costs and capital across firms can largely be summarized by a single, firm-specific, dynamic factor, which we label efficiency in the light of our structural model. The model contains the complete system of supply and factor demand equations. It suggests that efficiency is strongly linked to profitability and firm size, but it is unrelated to labor productivity. Our second task is to understand the origin and evolution of the differences in efficiency. Among the firms established within the 24-year period that we consider, permanent differences in efficiency dominate over differences generated by firm-specific, cumulated innovations.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 320.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:320
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  2. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2000. "Vintage organization capital," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
  3. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 2000. "Empirical Patterns of Firm Growth and R&D Investment: A Quality Ladder Model Interpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 363-387, April.
  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-999, September.
  6. Erik Biørn & Tor Jakob Klette, 1994. "Errors in Variables and Panel Data: The Labour Demand Response to Permanent Changes in Output," Discussion Papers 125, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  7. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  8. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
  9. Val Eugene Lambson, 1992. "Competitive Profits in the Long Run," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 125-142.
  10. Leamer, Edward E., 1983. "Model choice and specification analysis," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 285-330 Elsevier.
  11. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000. "GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
  12. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  13. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
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  15. repec:adr:anecst:y:1999:i:55-56:p:05 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 986-1018, October.
  17. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-443, December.
  18. 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.
  19. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
  20. 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.
  21. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-2132, December.
  22. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-583, June.
  23. Heckman, James J, 1991. "Identifying the Hand of the Past: Distinguishing State Dependence from Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 75-79, May.
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