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RESULTS

Table 1 indicates that a higher proportion of French firms grew substantially than either Irish or Scottish firms. The range of the French sample is also much higher, but a few larger outliers are to be expected in a larger sample size. Comparing medians, and proportions at a relatively low cut–off point, such as 100 or 200 employees, reduces the outlier problem. There appears to be a trend of an increasing proportion of larger firms in Ireland and Scotland over time, although the median firm size in Scotland decreased between the 1973–1987 cohort and the 1987–1992 cohort, while the median firm size in Ireland increased. This may reflect the business cycle. In 1992, the United Kingdom was in recession, while the Irish economy was growing. In 1987, the opposite was the case.

TABLE 1
The sample: descriptive statisticsFrance Ireland Scotland Total    

Nation  France  Ireland  Scotland  Total
1973–92 sample        
  no. of firms  288  49  44 381
mean size 121 93 92 114
median size 85 72 82 82
range 950 277 162 950
mean age (years)  12 13 12 12
% employing 100-199 35 20 39 33
% employing 200+  12 10 
1973–87 sample        
  no. of firms    35 28 63
mean size    83 87 85
median size   69 76 70
range   225 128 225
mean age (years)   9 9 9
% employing    20 36 27
100–199   3 0 2
% employing 200+   3 0 2
1978–92 sample         
no. of firms   28 29 57
mean size    102 84 93
median size    73 68 73
range    208 153 208
mean age (years)    10 9 9
% employing 100–199    29 31 30
% employing 200+    7 3 5

 

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