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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. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  2. 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.
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  4. 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.
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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Zvi Griliches & Tor Jakob Klette, 1999. "Empirical patterns of firm growth and R&D investment: a quality ladder model interpretation," IFS Working Papers W99/25, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-99, September.
  16. John M. Abowd & Bruno Crepon & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "Moment Estimation with Attrition," NBER Technical Working Papers 0214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-43, December.
  18. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
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  23. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2001. "Vintage Organization Capital," NBER Working Papers 8166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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