Thesis

Data Explorations in Firm Dynamics: Firm Birth, Life, and Death, Through Age, Wage, Size, and Labor

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Abstract

A better understanding of firm birth, life, and death yields a richer picture of firms' life-cycle and dynamical labor processes. Through "big data" analysis of a collection of universal fundamental distributions and beginning with firm age, wage and size, I discuss stationarity, their functional form, and consequences emanating from their defects. I describe and delineate the potential complications of the firm age defect caused by the Great Recession and speculate on a stark future where a single firm may control the U.S. economy. I follow with an analysis of firm sizes, tensions in heavy-tailed model fitting, how firm growth depends on firm size and consequently, the apparent conflict between empirical evidence and Gibrat's Law. Included is an introduction of the U.S. firm wage distribution. The ever-changing nature of firm dynamical processes played an important role in selecting the conditional distributions of age and size, and wage and size in my analysis. A closer look at these dynamical processes reveals the role played by mode wage and mode size in the dynamical processes of firms and thus in the firm life-cycle. Analysis of firm labor suggests preliminary evidence that the firm labor distribution conforms to scaling properties - that it is power law distributed. Moreover, I report empirical evidence supporting the existence of two separate and distinct labor processes dubbed labor regimes, a primary and secondary, coupled with a third unknown regime. I hypothesize that this unknown regime must be drawn from the primary labor regime that it is either emergent from systemic fraudulent activity or subjected to data corruption. The collection of explorations found in this dissertation product provide a fuller, richer picture of firm birth, life, and death through age, wage, size, and labor while supporting our understanding of firm dynamics in many directions.

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... Specifically, aggregate data on firm properties in the U.S. economy, such as age, wage, size and labor of firms (Shaheen, 2019) are reported within the Business Dynamics Statistics product (BDS) (United States Census Bureau, 2019). U.S. Census reports that this product was constructed by the Center for Economic Studies compiled from the Longitudinal Business Database using "annual snapshots" from the Census Bureau's Business Register using "probabilistic name and address matching" at the establishment level (many establishments can be part of a single firm). ...
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