Small Business Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 133–147 | Cite as

When is Gibrat’s law a law?

  • Sven-Olov DaunfeldtEmail author
  • Niklas Elert


The purpose of this article is to investigate if the industry context matters for whether Gibrat’s law is rejected or not using a dataset that consists of all limited firms in five-digit NACE-industries in Sweden during 1998–2004. The results reject Gibrat’s law on an aggregate level, since small firms grow faster than large firms. However, Gibrat’s law is confirmed about as often as it is rejected when industry-specific regressions are estimated. It is also found that the industry context—e.g., minimum efficient scale, market concentration rate, and number of young firms in the industry—matters for whether Gibrat’s law is rejected or not.


Firm growth Firm size Job creation Small firms 

JEL Classifications

D22 L11 L25 L26 



We would like to thank Daniel Halvarsson, two anonymous referees, and participants at the 2010 Ratio Colloquium for Young Social Scientists for valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HUI Research ABStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsDalarna UniversityBorlängeSweden
  3. 3.The Ratio Institute (RATIO)StockholmSweden

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