Entrant Experience and Plant Exit

Timothy Dunne, Shawn D. Klimek, Mark J. Roberts

NBER Working Paper No. 10133
Issued in December 2003
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Producers entering a market can differ widely in their prior production experience, ranging from none to extensive experience in related geographic or product markets. In this paper, we quantify the nature of prior plant and firm experience for entrants into a market and measure its effect on the plant's decision to exit the market. Using plant-level data for seven regional manufacturing industries in the U.S., we find that a producer's experience at the time it enters a market plays an important role in the subsequent exit decision, affecting both the overall probability of exit and the method of exit. After controlling for observable plant and market profit determinants, there remain systematic differences in failure patterns across three groups of plants distinguished by their prior experience: de novo entrants, experienced plants that enter by diversifying their product mix, and new plants owned by experienced firms. The results indicate that the exit decision cannot be treated as determined solely by current and future plant, firm, and market conditions, but that the plant's history plays an important independent role in conditioning the likelihood of survival.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10133

Published: International Journal of Industrial Organization, Vol 23, Issue5-6, June 2005, pp. 399-421.

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