Uneven Firm Growth in a Globalized World (Job Market Paper) [draft]
Abstract: I study how globalization contributes to uneven firm growth and its implications for industrial concentration and productivity growth in OECD countries. I document new facts showing that industry leaders grow faster in sales and patenting than followers, particularly in industries with increasing export intensities; sales divergence is mainly driven by exports rather than domestic sales. To rationalize these facts, I develop a two-country endogenous growth model with strategic domestic and international competition and a 'disadvantage of backwardness' that captures how firms innovate less when left behind. Globalization, modelled as decreasing trade iceberg costs and increasing international knowledge spillovers, triggers a stronger innovation response among leaders than followers via the market size effect, inducing an increase in domestic concentration that depresses firm innovation via weaker domestic competition: followers and leaders reduce innovation due to the disadvantage of backwardness and decreasing returns to innovation, respectively. The globalization-induced harsher foreign competition also reduces innovation via lower profits. In the calibrated model, globalization explains 80% of the rise in industrial concentration and 50% of the productivity growth slowdown in the data, mainly due to weaker domestic competition. The increasing international knowledge spillover force of globalization dominates.
Abstract: Since the information and communications technology revolution, productivity growth in Southern European countries has been substantially lower than in developed European countries. I document that Southern European firms have lower productivity growth, lower intangible capital growth, and lower leverage than developed European firms. The disparity is larger among smaller firms. To rationalize these findings, I build a model featuring endogenous firm productivity growth through innovation investment and size-dependent financial frictions. Financial frictions lower productivity growth via two channels: innovation investment and misallocation. The model finds that financial frictions account for at least 11% of the aggregate productivity growth difference in the data, mainly via the innovation investment channel. The model also highlights that fast capital and output growth may coexist with slow productivity growth due to firms' tradeoffs in allocating a constrained amount of investment between capital and productivity.
Work in Progress
Work in Progress