Small Business Economics

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 1017–1028 | Cite as

Generalising Gibrat: using Chinese evidence founded on fieldwork

  • Gavin C. Reid
  • Zhibin Xu


This paper reports on determinants of small firm growth and survival, using fieldwork evidence collected by face-to-face and telephone interviews. It extends the ‘basic’ size-age model to a ‘comprehensive’ growth model with two types of additional explanatory variables: firm specific and business environmental. Estimation is by log-linear regression on Chinese cross-section data, with corrections for sample selection bias and heteroskedasticity. Our results from the comprehensive model highlight the importance of location choice and customer orientation for the growth of Chinese private firms.


Models of small firm growth Choice of location Customer orientation Chinese private firms 

JEL Classifications

D21 M13 L25 L26 



This study would not have been possible without grants from the Russell Trust (University of St Andrews, UK) and from the Young Teacher Research Fellowship (Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China), for which we express thanks. Earlier versions of this material have been presented to the School of Economics & Finance, University of St Andrews, the Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, Perth, and the European Economic Association Annual Conference, Glasgow University. We express thanks for the feedback provided by numerous conference and seminar participants on these occasions. Specifically, the work has benefited from the comments of Paul Hare, Klaus Beckmann, Felix FitzRoy, Julia Smith, Tobias Wentzel, Federico Tamagni, and Alessandra Guariglia, to all of whom we are especially grateful. The Editor and the referees are also thanked for detailed and constructive comment and guidance. However, the authors accept full responsibility for the paper, and for any errors of omission or commission it may yet contain.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CRIEFF, School of Economics & FinanceSt. Salvator’s College, University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsScotland, UK

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