Working Paper
On the persistence of growth for South African firms

The growth of firms has been shown to have a meaningful impact on the health of firms and the economy in general. As the body of literature dedicated to understanding high-growth firms has expanded, an interest in the persistence of growth has become even more relevant.

This is because persistence of growth has significant implications for the outcomes that might reasonably be expected from public policy explicitly targeting high-growth firms. Using firm-level data, this paper adopts a quantile-regression approach and analyses whether the performance of firms at the tails of the growth distribution is persistent.

It finds a strong, negative serial correlation of growth among South African firms, particularly among smaller firms and those at the tails of the growth distribution. This suggests that a more nuanced approach by policymakers is necessary in regard to high-growth firms.