Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Vienna
Recent research has led to the empirical regularity that firm growth rate distributions are heavy tailed. This finding implies that a few firms experience spectacular growth rates and decline, but that most firms have marginal growth rates. The literature on high-growth firms shows that high-growth firms are the central drivers of job creation in the economy but are neither clustered in high technology sectors nor are necessarily young and small. The evidence on the determinants of firm growth confirms that firm growth is difficult to predict. The finding that firm growth is well approximated by a random process does not only reflect the heterogeneity at the firm level but is also associated with the low persistence of growth rates over time.