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How and why do Firms differ?

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 Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 320.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:320
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  1. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  2. 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.
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  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 363-87, April.
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  6. 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.
  7. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  10. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-99, September.
  11. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 820, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2000. "Vintage organization capital," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
  14. 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.
  15. J, A, Abowd & Bruno Crépon & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "Moment Estimation with Attrition," Working Papers 97-35, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  16. Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating firms and aggregate innovation," Staff Report 300, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. 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.
  18. Lambson, Val Eugene, 1992. "Competitive Profits in the Long Run," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 125-42, January.
  19. Robert MOFFIT & John FITZGERALD & Peter GOTTSCHALK, 1999. "Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Role of Selection on Observables," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 55-56, pages 129-152.
  20. Erik Biørn & Tor Jakob Klette, 1994. "Errors in Variables and Panel Data: The Labour Demand Response to Permanent Changes in Output," Discussion Papers 125, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  21. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  22. 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.
  23. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
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