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Where Gibrat meets Zipf: Scale and Scope of French Firms

Listed author(s):
  • MArco Bee

    ()

  • Massimo Riccaboni

    ()

  • Stefano Schiavo

    ()

The proper characterization of the size distribution of business firms represents an important issue in economic literature, with the most common reference distribu- tions being the lognormal and the Pareto varieties. This analysis is related to some methodological issues that are rarely properly addressed in applied work, and may significantly affect the results: the major difficulties arise from low power of the tests caused by limited sample size and the common practice of binning the data. In this paper we contribute to this body of literature by analyzing the size distribu- tion of all French companies, strongly rejecting the hypothesis that it is a Pareto distribution. Moreover, we argue that the lognormal distribution is a more reason- able first-cut benchmark for the entire population of firms. This is especially true for single-product firms, while we show the emergence of a Zipf tail for the class of multi-product companies. Our findings are in strong agreement with some recent theoretical contributions, which predict that the size distribution depends on a set of industry specific determinants.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Management in its series DEM Discussion Papers with number 2014/03.

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Date of creation: 2014
Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpem:2014/03
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