University of Sussex
Cruz-Novoa,_Alfonso.pdf (4.9 MB)

Industrial dynamics and technological structure of the paper and pulp industry

Download (4.9 MB)
posted on 2023-06-07, 16:21 authored by Alfonso Cruz-Novoa
This thesis investigates the existence and form of association between the technological structure of one of the most highly capital-intensive industries in the world, the paper and pulp (p&p) industry, and its dynamic behaviour in terms of market growth and development. Industrial structure issues are particularly relevant in highly capital-intensive sectors because they reflect the influence of economies of scale and changing patterns of entry and exit. The thesis draws upon two related bodies of literature: the dynamics of industrial structure, and heterogeneity within industry. It uses a quantitative hypothesis-deductive method and two panel databases. The first of these databases identifies key characteristics of the world's 150 largest p&p firms during the period 1978-2000, accounting for two-thirds of world output. The second dataset contains annual production capacity for the entire population of US p&p companies during the period 1970-2000. The US is the largest producer and consumer of p&p, accounting for one-third of world output. The main findings are as follows. Firstly, we demonstrate that p&p firms' growth is not a 'random walk' process, a generalization referred to in the literature as Gibrat's law. Nor is there a linear relation between growth and size distribution or between time and growth rates. We find that size, technology and time matter. Secondly, we demonstrate that this departure from Gibrat's law is due to the existence of three distinctive technological configurations or strategic groups of firms: 'Large & Diversified', 'Medium & Specialized', and 'Small & Very Specialized', which show persistently heterogeneous growth performance. In contrast with the findings in most of the recent empirical literature that shows smaller firms growing faster within the industry size distribution, the medium & specialized p&p companies show systematically the highest rates of growth. Thirdly, patterns of p&p firm survival and technological adoption behaviour over the last three decades are identified and related to the principal technological advances during the period, i.e. the very rapid increase in paper machine operating speed. The research contributes to the literature by providing robust new empirical evidence of the persistence over time of an intra-industry technological structure that systematically influences the heterogeneous performance of firms with different technological configurations and whose origins are linked to firms' growth processes (industrial dynamics) in the p&p industry.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager