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What Determines Firm Size?

54 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

Krishna B. Kumar

University of Southern California

Raghuram G. Rajan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; International Monetary Fund (IMF); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1999

Abstract

Motivated by theories of the firm, which we classify as technological' or organizational,' we analyze the determinants of firm size across industries and across countries in a sample of 15 European countries. We find that, on average, firms facing larger markets are larger. At the industry level, we find firms in the utility sector are large, perhaps because they enjoy a natural, or officially sanctioned, monopoly. Capital intensive industries, high wage industries, and industries that do a lot of R&D have larger firms, as do industries that require little external financing. At the country level, the most salient findings are that countries with efficient judicial systems have larger firms, and, correcting for institutional development, there is little evidence that richer countries have larger firms. Interestingly, institutional development, such as greater judicial efficiency, seems to be correlated with lower dispersion in firm size within an industry. The effects of interactions (between an industry's characteristics and a country's environment) on size are perhaps the most novel results in the paper, and are best able to discriminate between theories. As the judicial system improves, the difference in size between firms in capital intensive industries and firms in industries that use little physical capital diminishes, a finding consistent with size of firms in industries dependent on external finance is larger in countries with better financial markets, suggesting that financial constraints limit average firm size.

Suggested Citation

Kumar, Krishna B. and Rajan, Raghuram G. and Zingales, Luigi, What Determines Firm Size? (July 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7208. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227556

Krishna B. Kumar (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

Marshall School of Business, HOH 701
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-6533 (Phone)
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Raghuram G. Rajan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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773-702-9299 (Phone)
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Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-3196 (Phone)
773-834-2081 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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