Large Firm Dynamics and the Business Cycle

68 Pages Posted: 12 May 2015

See all articles by Vasco M. Carvalho

Vasco M. Carvalho

Universitat Pompeu Fabra/CREI; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Cambridge

Basile Grassi

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: May 2015

Abstract

Do large firm dynamics drive the business cycle? We answer this question by developing a quantitative theory of aggregate fluctuations caused by firm-level disturbances alone. We show that a standard heterogeneous firm dynamics setup already contains in it a theory of the business cycle, without appealing to aggregate shocks. We offer a complete analytical characterization of the law of motion of the aggregate state in this class of models – the firm size distribution – and show that the resulting closed form solutions for aggregate output and productivity dynamics display: (i) persistence, (ii) volatility and (iii) time-varying second moments. We explore the key role of moments of the firm size distribution – and, in particular, the role of large firm dynamics – in shaping aggregate fluctuations, theoretically, quantitatively and in the data.

Keywords: aggregate fluctuations, firm size distribution, large firm dynamics, random growth

JEL Classification: E32, L11

Suggested Citation

Carvalho, Vasco M. and Grassi, Basile, Large Firm Dynamics and the Business Cycle (May 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10587, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2605022

Vasco M. Carvalho (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra/CREI ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.crei.cat/people/carvalho/welcome.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Basile Grassi

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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