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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 ...
“Big G” typically refers to aggregate government spending on a homogeneous good. In this paper, we open up this construct by analyzing the entire universe of procurement contracts of the US government and establish five facts. First, government spending is granular; that is, it is concentrated in relatively few firms and sectors. Second, relative to private expenditures its composition is biased. Third, procurement contracts are short-lived. Fourth, idiosyncratic variation dominates the fluctuation in spending. Last, government spending is concentrated in sectors with relatively sticky ...
Foreign Shocks as Granular Fluctuations
This paper uses a data set covering the universe of French firm-level sales, imports, and exports over the period 1993-2007 and a quantitative multi-country model to study the international transmission of business cycle shocks at both the micro and the macro levels. The largest firms are both important enough to generate aggregate fluctuations (Gabaix 2011), and most likely to be internationally connected. This implies that foreign shocks are transmitted to the domestic economy primarily through the largest firms. We first document a novel stylized fact: larger French firms are significantly ...