Declining Dynamism, Allocative Efficiency, and the Productivity Slowdown
A large literature documents declining measures of business dynamism including high-growth young firm activity and job reallocation. A distinct literature describes a slowdown in the pace of aggregate labor productivity growth. We relate these patterns by studying changes in productivity growth from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s using firm-level data. We find that diminished allocative efficiency gains can account for the productivity slowdown in a manner that interacts with the within-firm productivity growth distribution. The evidence suggests that the decline in dynamism is reason for ...
On the U.S. Firm and Establishment Size Distributions
This paper revisits the empirical evidence on the nature of firm and establishment size distributions in the United States using the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD), a confidential Census Bureau panel of all non-farm private firms and establishments with at least one employee. We establish five stylized facts that are relevant for the extent of granularity and the nature of growth in the U.S. economy: (1) with an estimated shape parameter significantly below 1, the best-fitting Pareto distribution substantially differs from Zipf's law for both firms and establishments; (2) a lognormal ...
Learning, Prices, and Firm Dynamics
We document new facts about the evolution of firm performance and prices in international markets, and propose a theory of firm dynamics emphasizing the interaction between learning about demand and quality choice to explain the observed patterns. Using data from the Portuguese manufacturing sector, we find that: (1) firms with longer spells of activity in export destinations tend to ship larger quantities at lower prices; (2) older exporters tend to use more expensive inputs; (3) revenue growth within destinations (conditional on initial size) tends to decline with market experience; and (4) ...
Accounting for Productivity Dispersion over the Business Cycle
This paper presents accounting decompositions of changes in aggregate labor and capital productivity. Our simplest decomposition breaks changes in an aggregate productivity ratio into two components: A mean component, which captures common changes to firm factor productivity ratios, and a dispersion component, which captures changes in the variance and higher order moments of their distribution. In standard models with heterogeneous firms and frictions to firm input decisions, the dispersion component is a function of changes in the second and higher moments of the log of marginal revenue ...
Where Are All the New Banks? The Role of Regulatory Burden in New Charter Creation
New bank formation in the U.S. has declined dramatically since the financial crisis, from well over 100 new banks per year to less than 1. Many have suggested that this is due to newly-instituted regulation, but the current weak economy and low interest rates (which both depress banking profits) could also have played a role. We estimate a model of bank entry decisions on data from 1976 to 2013 which indicates that at least 75% of the decline in new bank formation would have occurred without any regulatory change. The standalone effect of regulation is more difficult to quantify.
Entry, exit, and the determinants of market structure
This paper estimates a dynamic, structural model of entry and exit in an oligopolistic industry and uses it to quantify the determinants of market structure and long-run firm values for two U.S. service industries, dentists and chiropractors. Entry costs faced by potential entrants, fixed costs faced by incumbent producers, and the toughness of short-run price competition are all found to be important determinants of long-run firm values, firm turnover, and market structure. Estimates for the dentist industry allow the entry cost to differ for geographic markets that were designated as Health ...
Common Ownership Does Not Have Anti-Competitive Effects in the Airline Industry
Institutional investors often own significant equity in firms that compete in the same product market. These "common owners" may have an incentive to coordinate the actions of firms that would otherwise be competing rivals, leading to anti-competitive pricing. This paper uses data on airline ticket prices to test whether common owners induce anti-competitive pricing behavior. We find little evidence to support such a hypothesis, and show that the positive relationship between average ticket prices and a commonly used measure of common ownership previously documented in the literature is ...
Multiproduct firms and price-setting: theory and evidence from U.S. producer prices
In this paper, we establish three new facts about price-setting by multiproduct firms and contribute a model that can explain our findings. Our findings have important implications for real effects of nominal shocks and provide guidance for how to model pricing decisions of firms. On the empirical side, using micro-data on U.S. producer prices, we first show that firms selling more goods adjust their prices more frequently but on average by smaller amounts. Moreover, the higher the number of goods, the lower is the fraction of positive price changes and the more dispersed the distribution of ...
Variety, globalization, and social efficiency
This paper puts recent work on the benefits of variety into the context of a more complete quantitative analysis of the Dixit-Stiglitz-Krugman model of monopolistic competition. We show how the gains from globalization are reflected in the increase in variety and the exploitation of economies of scale, and that the social efficiency question is quantitatively insignificant. These results follow from examining a Bertrand-Nash equilibrium that allows for a finite number of varieties to affect the elasticity of demand facing each firm. We develop a precise expression for per capita real income ...
Markups and misallocation with trade and heterogeneous firms
With non-homothetic preferences, a monopolistic competition equilibrium is inefficient in the way inputs are allocated towards production. This paper quantifies a gains from trade component that is present only when reallocation is properly measured in a setting with heterogeneous firms that charge variable markups. Due to variable markups, reallocations initiated by aggregate shocks impact allocative efficiency depending on the adjustment of the market power distribution. My measurement compares real income growth with the hypothetical case of no misallocation in quantities. Using firm and ...