Why do Most Firms Die Young?

Why do Most Firms Die Young? A model is developed to explain why most firms die in the first few years of trading. A risk averse entrepreneur with initial capital endowment faces a Brownian motion in net worth over time. To balance return (profits growth) and risk (variance of profits) she adopts a portfolio strategy, choosing market positioning to achieve an optimal combination of risk and return at each instant, given her financial and human capital endowments and attitude towards risk. Failure occurs when the firm’s value falls below the opportunity cost of staying in business. The resulting distribution of failure is Inverse Gaussian, implying, for specific parameter values, a positively skewed failure curve of the type observed in practice. In addition the model presents a novel-measure of management human capital (MHC) which implies that high MHC entrepreneurs will have higher absolute and marginal profits growth than low MHC entrepreneurs at given levels of risk. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Small Business Economics Springer Journals

Why do Most Firms Die Young?

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer
Subject
Business and Management; Management; Microeconomics; Entrepreneurship; Industrial Organization
ISSN
0921-898X
eISSN
1573-0913
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11187-004-7813-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A model is developed to explain why most firms die in the first few years of trading. A risk averse entrepreneur with initial capital endowment faces a Brownian motion in net worth over time. To balance return (profits growth) and risk (variance of profits) she adopts a portfolio strategy, choosing market positioning to achieve an optimal combination of risk and return at each instant, given her financial and human capital endowments and attitude towards risk. Failure occurs when the firm’s value falls below the opportunity cost of staying in business. The resulting distribution of failure is Inverse Gaussian, implying, for specific parameter values, a positively skewed failure curve of the type observed in practice. In addition the model presents a novel-measure of management human capital (MHC) which implies that high MHC entrepreneurs will have higher absolute and marginal profits growth than low MHC entrepreneurs at given levels of risk.

Journal

Small Business EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 17, 2004

References

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