The Role of Size and Age on Firm Growth: Evidence from Manufacturing SMMEs in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Keywords:Gibrat’s Law, firm growth, Jovanovic Passive Learning Model, firm size , SMMEs
Previous studies in both developed and developing economies have reported that firm growth declines with firm age and size. However, review of literature showed that there are limited studies to empirically assess the validity of this fact on firm growth in developing countries. As such, this paper assesses the role of firm size and age on firm growth in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The study employed a unique balanced three-year panel dataset of 191 manufacturing Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the province. As expected, the results showed a negative relationship between firm growth and size especially in the short term. However, contrary to the wider body of literature, the study established a positive relationship between firm age and growth. The study also established that older firms grow faster than their younger counterparts despite their size. On the other hand, small sized firms despite their age grow faster than large firms when employment and total assets were used as measures of firm size. It was recommended that the government should be cognisant of the complexity of SMMEs when crafting various sector policies.