Firm Age, Productivity, and Intangible Capital

Author Name HOSONO Kaoru (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / TAKIZAWA Miho (Gakushuin University) / YAMANOUCHI Kenta (Keio University)
Creation Date/NO. January 2020 20-E-001
Research Project Microeconometric Analysis of Firm and Industry Growth
Download / Links


We examine the role of intangible capital investment in firm growth in sales and productivity over age. To this end, we first document how firm sales evolve with age using a large dataset from Japan covering the periods of 1991 and 1994-2015. Second, we construct a model to show the relationship between firm sales and the three parameters: markup, physical productivity (TFPQ), and factor price distortion, which vary across firms and over time. We estimate these parameters at the firm-year level using the dataset and quantify the impacts of each parameter on sales growth by simulating the hypothetical sales growth with each parameter fixed to the initial value for each firm. Third, we estimate the effects of intangible capital on sales through each parameter of sales. Our findings can be summarized as follows. First, firm sales grow with age up to about 30 years after entry. Second, TFPQ increases with firm age and has dominant effects on sales growth compared to markup and factor price distortion. Third, intangible capital has significant effects on sales growth through TFPQ. Among the three types of intangible capital, organizational capital accounts for a major portion of sales growth.