IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Very simple marginal effects in some discrete choice models


  • Kevin J. Denny

    (School of Economics & Geary Institute University College Dublin)


I show a simple back-of-the-envelope method for calculating marginal effects in binary choice and count data models. The approach suggested here focuses attention on marginal effects at different points in the distribution of the dependent variable rather than representative points in the joint distribution of the explanatory variables. For binary models, if the mean of the dependent variable is between 0.4 and 0.6 then dividing the logit coefficient by 4 or multiplying the probit coefficient by 0.4 should be moderately accurate.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin J. Denny, 2009. "Very simple marginal effects in some discrete choice models," Working Papers 200921, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200921

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Wit, Gerrit, 2005. "Firm size distributions: An overview of steady-state distributions resulting from firm dynamics models," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 423-450, June.
    2. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli, 2004. "Industry Dynamics and the Distribution of Firm Sizes: A Nonparametric Approach," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 443-466, January.
    3. Evans, David S, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 567-581, June.
    4. Ciara Whelan & Patrick P. Walsh & Qi Li, 2007. "Jobless growth through creative destruction : Ireland's industrial development path 1972-2003," Open Access publications 10197/142, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    5. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J., 1989. "Variation In Producer Turnover Across U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers 12-89-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    6. Christopher A Laincz & Ana Sofia Domingues Rodrigues, "undated". "A Theoretical Foundation for Understanding Firm Size Distributions and Gibrat's Law," Discussion Papers 05/34, Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli, 2001. "Industry Dynamics and the Distribution of Firm Sizes: A Non-Parametric Approach," LEM Papers Series 2001/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    8. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Emin Dinlersoz & Glenn MacDonald, 2009. "The Industry Life-Cycle of the Size Distribution of Firms," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 648-667, October.
    12. Hart, Peter E & Oulton, Nicholas, 1996. "Growth and Size of Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1242-1252, September.
    13. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    14. Thorbj¯rn Knudsen, 2001. "Zipf's Law for Cities and Beyond: The Case of Denmark," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 123-146, January.
    15. Stephen Hymer & Peter Pashigian, 1962. "Firm Size and Rate of Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 556-556.
    16. repec:wsi:ijmpcx:v:07:y:1996:i:04:n:s0129183196000491 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U. S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-698.
    18. Kumar, M S, 1985. "Growth, Acquisition Activity and Firm Size: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 327-338, March.
    19. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    20. Audretsch, David B & Mahmood, Talat, 1995. "New Firm Survival: New Results Using a Hazard Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 97-103, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    marginal effects; binary choice; count data;

    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:ucd:wpaper:200921. 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: (Geary Tech). 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.