|Author Name||René BELDERBOS (KU Leuven / UNU-MERIT / Maastricht University) / FUKAO Kyoji (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / IKEUCHI Kenta (Senior Fellow (Policy Economist), RIETI) / KIM Young Gak (Senshu University) / KWON Hyeog Ug (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)|
|Creation Date/NO.||November 2022 22-E-105|
|Research Project||East Asian Industrial Productivity|
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Do high or low productivity firms self-select into locations characterized by high industry agglomeration? On the one hand, productive firms may benefit more from the availability of specialized (labour) inputs and they are also more likely to survive heightened competition. On the other hand, productive firms face greater risks of knowledge dissipation to collocated rival firms, as they may contribute more than they receive in terms of knowledge spillovers. We examine location decisions for new plant establishments by firms in Japan with established productivity records (multi-plant firms) at the fine-grained level of towns, wards, and cities where knowledge spillovers are most likely to occur. We find that the adverse selection effects of industry agglomeration–the process of agglomerated areas attracting weaker rather than stronger firms–dominate if knowledge spillovers are most harmful to productive entrants when the focal firm and local incumbent establishments target the same (domestic) product market. We conclude that negative sorting processes do occur, but that these can only be uncovered in a more fine-grained analysis that takes into account ex ante measures of firm heterogeneity and the nature of product markets.