NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Firms, Destinations, and Aggregate Fluctuations

Julian di Giovanni, Andrei Levchenko, Isabelle Mejean

NBER Working Paper No. 20061
Issued in April 2014
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM   ITI

This paper uses a database covering the universe of French firms for the period 1990--2007 to provide a forensic account of the role of individual firms in generating aggregate fluctuations. We set up a simple multi-sector model of heterogeneous firms selling to multiple markets to motivate a theoretically-founded decomposition of firms' annual sales growth rate into different components. We find that the firm-specific component contributes substantially to aggregate sales volatility, mattering about as much as the components capturing shocks that are common across firms within a sector or country. We then decompose the firm-specific component to provide evidence on two mechanisms that generate aggregate fluctuations from microeconomic shocks highlighted in the recent literature: (i) when the firm size distribution is fat-tailed, idiosyncratic shocks to large firms directly contribute to aggregate fluctuations; and (ii) aggregate fluctuations can arise from idiosyncratic shocks due to input-output linkages across the economy. Firm linkages are approximately three times as important as the direct effect of firm shocks in driving aggregate fluctuations.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20061

Published: Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko & Isabelle Mejean, 2014. "Firms, Destinations, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(4), pages 1303-1340, 07. citation courtesy of

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