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Lucia Foster, John Haltiwanger, Shawn Klimek, C.J. Krizan and Scott Ohlmacher

The growth and dominance of large, national chains is a ubiquitous feature of the US retail sector. The recent literature has documented the rise of these chains and the contribution of this structural change to productivity growth in the retail trade sector. Recent studies have also shown that the establishments of large, national chains are both more productive and more stable than the establishments of single-unit firms they are displacing. We build on this literature by following the paths of retail firms and establishments from 1977 to 2007 using establishment- and firm-level data from the Census of Retail Trade and the Longitudinal Business Database. We dissect the shift towards large, national chains on several margins. We explore the differences in entry and exit as well as job creation and destruction patterns at the establishment and firm level. We find that over this period there are consistently high rates of entry and job creation by the establishments of single-unit firms and large, national firms, but net growth is much higher for the large, national firms. Underlying this difference is far lower exit and job destruction rates of establishments from national chains. Thus, the story of the increased dominance of national chains is not so much due to a declining entry rate of new single-unit firms but rather the much greater stability of the new establishments belonging to national chains relative to their single-unit counterparts. Given the increasing dominant role of these chains, we dissect the paths to success of national chains, including an analysis of four key industries in retail trade. We find dramatically different patterns across industries. In general merchandise, the rise in national chains is dominated by slow but gradual growth of firms into national chain status. In contrast, in apparel, which has become much more dominated by national chains in recent years, firms that quickly became national chains play a much greater role.
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Phillip Wild, William Paul Bell and John Foster

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J. Stan Metcalfe and John Foster

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Edited by John Foster and J. Stanley Metcalfe

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John Foster and J. Stanley Metcalfe

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Frontiers of Evolutionary Economics

Competition, Self-Organization and Innovation Policy

Edited by John Foster and J. Stanley Metcalfe

Modern evolutionary economics is now nearly two decades old and in this excellent book, a distinguished group of evolutionary economists identify the most important developments and discuss the direction of future research. By moving away from traditional concerns with the operation of selection mechanisms towards a preoccupation with the manner in which the novelty and variety provide fuel for such mechanisms, the authors identify a key development in the field.
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Edited by J. Stanley Metcalfe and John Foster

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Edited by J. Stanley Metcalfe and John Foster

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Edited by J. Stanley Metcalfe and John Foster

Dedicated to the goal of furthering evolutionary economic analysis, this book provides a coherent scientific approach to deal with the real world of continual change in the economic system. Expansive in its scope, this book ranges from abstract discussions of ontology, analysis and theory to more practical discussions on how we can operationalize notions such as ‘capabilities’ from what we understand as ‘knowledge’. Simulation techniques and empirical case studies are also used.
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Edited by John Foster and Werner Hölzl