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The devil dwells in the tails

A quantile regression approach to firm growth

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Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. However, this empirical finding has been attributed to sample attrition/selection bias. Exits are not included in these studies, and the sample includes predominantly small firms, producing a bias in the size variable in favor of small firms. Harhoff et al. (1998), however, indicated that the negative correlation persists even when controlling for sample attrition. For reviews of Gibrat’s Law, see e.g. Sutton (1997) and Lotti et al. (2003).

  2. The standard errors of the OLS regression estimates have been corrected for bias in terms of heteroskedasticity. We followed Long and Erwins’s (2000) recommendations using MacKinnon and White’s (1985) method.

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Correspondence to Toke Reichstein.

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Reichstein, T., Dahl, M.S., Ebersberger, B. et al. The devil dwells in the tails. J Evol Econ 20, 219–231 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00191-009-0152-x

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