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The shadow of death: an empirical analysis of the pre-exit performance of young German firms


  • Almus, Matthias


This paper makes an empirical contribution to confirm the stylized fact that the performance of firms deteoriates in the years before exit. For this reason we evaluate whether market exits differ significantly in their employment development in the years before market drop-out compared to surviving firms that have been selected using a non-parametric matching approach. The matching approach allows to find a surviving firm for every market exit that does not differ in important characteristics measured at start-up. The comparison of the employment growth rates among the thus formed groups reveals that the matched surviving firms experience higher growth rates compared to their exiting counterparts up to three years before market exit. Moreover, we find support for the phenomenon called \shadow of death" sneaking around the corner. A considerable number of firms exiting from 1995 until 1998 has experienced continuing employment losses or at least an employment stagnation over several years before market exit.

Suggested Citation

  • Almus, Matthias, 2000. "The shadow of death: an empirical analysis of the pre-exit performance of young German firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-44, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5328

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    1. Almus, Matthias & Engel, Dirk & Prantl, Susanne, 2000. "The Mannheim Foundation Panels of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)," ZEW Dokumentationen 00-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Richard Ericson & Ariel Pakes, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82.
    3. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432.
    4. 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.
    5. Schmalensee, Richard, 1989. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 951-1009 Elsevier.
    6. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
    7. Lechner, Michael & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Spengler, Hannes & Almus, Matthias, 2000. "The impact of non-profit temping agencies on individual labour market success in the West German state of Rhineland-Palatinate," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Adonis Yatchew, 1998. "Nonparametric Regression Techniques in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 669-721, June.
    9. Susanne Prantl, 2000. "Post-Entry Selection Among Newly Founded Firms in East and West Germany after Unification: A Competing Risk Model with Forced Bankruptcy Liquidations and Voluntary Liquidations," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1602, Econometric Society.
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    Cited by:

    1. Flora Bellone & Patrick Musso & Michel Quéré & Lionel Nesta, 2006. "Productivity and Market Selection of French Manufacturing Firms in the Nineties," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 319-349.
    2. Köke, Jens, 2001. "Determinants of acquisition and failure: stylized facts and lessons for empirical studies," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-30, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Koke, Jens, 2002. "Determinants of acquisition and failure: evidence from corporate Germany," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 457-484, December.
    4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/7185 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    New Firms; Employment Growth; Evaluation; Non-Parametric Matching;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm


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