From Productivity to Firm Growth

James Bessen and Erich Denk

It is widely held that more productive firms grow faster, thus reallocating resources and raising aggregate productivity. Yet little empirical research identifies the features of the mechanisms affecting this process. This paper develops and tests a general model encompassing several mechanisms used to overcome informational frictions to growth. We find that firm size, productivity dispersion, and large firm investments in intangibles are all significantly related to changes in firm growth in response to productivity. These factors can account for much of the decline in the response to productivity since 2000 (Decker et al. 2020). Also, industry concentration is directly related to aggregate productivity growth.

SSRN Working Paper