43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Peripheries, Centres, and Spatial Development in the New Europe", 27th - 30th August 2003, Jyväskylä, Finland
This is an empirical research on old firms in the Netherlands where old firms are defined als those firms that were founded before 1851 and still exist today. The study is divided in two main parts. The first part is descriptive and provides information on the firm population at stake. The regional differences concerning age, size, sector and percentage of the total firm population are shown. In the second part, an analysis on the outcome of a survey conducted at the research population is presented. The analysis focuses on the relation between firm characteristics and the spatial environment and whether or not similarities can be identified in these old firms. Overall, economic theory suggests that forces external to the firm such as strong competition, lagging demand, or technological drawbacks are the dominant determinants of firm closure. In this line of reasoning it may be claimed that low competition, growing demand and innovative behaviour might stimulate survival chances of firms on the long run. There are few sources on firm's activities during the life course of individual firm and on the influence of the spatial environment on these firm activities. This study might shed some light on the relationship between the spatial environment, specific firm characteristics and long term survival of firms in the Netherlands. Insight in the background of 'long-term' survival of firms can be of importance to industrial organization research and firm demography and also to the economic and regional policymaking in understanding and stimulating regional dynamics. Furthermore it might help to identify indicators of more successful firm strategies.