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Essays in firm dynamics Petrunia, Robert John

Abstract

This thesis comprises three essays that analyze financial and non-financial aspects of firm and industry dynamics. The first essay investigates the evolution of a cohort of entrants during their first ten years of life. The study looks at the distributions of sales, assets, employment and debtasset ratio for these firms over time and compares how these distributions change relative to distributions for incumbent firms. Entrants are smaller in terms of employees, assets and sales, but have a higher debt-asset ratio when compared with incumbents. These differences lessen over time because entrants have higher growth rates and smaller entrant firms have higher failure rates than compared to larger entrants. The second essay investigates whether long-term growth of a firm is independent of initial financial structure. I look at a panel of Canadian retail and manufacturing firms born in 1985. The analysis involves a two-part testing process. The first part tests whether firm growth exhibits initial size dependence. The growth process for retail firms exhibits initial size dependence, while the growth process for manufacturing firms does not. The second part looks at whether growth of ten-year old manufacturing firms is independent of initial debt-asset ratio. The result rejects independence with the finding that age ten conditional size of a manufacturing firm has a non-monotonic relationship with initial debt-asset ratio. The final essay examines whether Gibrat's law holds for groups of Canadian firms operating in manufacturing and retail sectors. Gibrat's law holds when firm growth and variability of growth are independent of firm size and firm growth is independent across time. Firm growth and variability of growth depend on size for each set of firms, which leads to violations of Gibrat's law. The source of these two violations is not survival bias, since the violations occur with the inclusion or exclusion of failing firms. A further violation is that negative growth persistence exists. Finally, I look at possible failure because of age effects. I examine a group of new firms with a common age and find the violations continue to occur for this group.

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