Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 219–231 | Cite as

The devil dwells in the tails

A quantile regression approach to firm growth
  • Toke Reichstein
  • Michael S. Dahl
  • Bernd Ebersberger
  • Morten B. Jensen
Regular Article


This paper explores firm growth rate distribution in a Gibrat’s Law context. It is novel in two respects. First, rather than limiting the analysis to a focus on the conditional mean, we investigate the entire shape of the distribution. Second, we show that differences in the firm growth rate process between large and small firms are highly circumstantial and depend on the industry dynamics. The data used include more than 9,000 Danish manufacturing, services and construction firms. We provide robust evidence indicating that firm growth studies should concentrate less on explaining means and instead focus on other parts of the firm growth rate distribution.


Firm growth Quantile regression Distribution shape 

JEL Classification

C14 L11 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toke Reichstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael S. Dahl
    • 3
  • Bernd Ebersberger
    • 4
  • Morten B. Jensen
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics, DRUIDCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.CEREBEMBEM Bordeaux Management SchoolTalenceFrance
  3. 3.Department of Business Studies, DRUIDAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  4. 4.Management Center Innsbruck (MCI)InnsbruckAustria
  5. 5.Department of Marketing and StatisticsAarhus School of BusinessAarhusDenmark

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