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Agglomeration and firm performance in times of economic turmoil: Evidence from Tunisian firm‐level data

Mohamed Amara

Growth and Change, 2023, vol. 54, issue 2, 446-481

Abstract: The paper analyzes the relationship between agglomeration economies (urbanization, specialization, and diversity) and firm‐level performance during a period of deep economic downturn (2011–2018). We use data from the National Survey of Economic Activities for eight Tunisian manufacturing industries to explore which agglomeration externalities matter most for firm performance after the revolution. The analysis considers, in addition, the role played by selected firm‐specific characteristics. The empirical results, based on a multilevel analysis approach, sanction the importance of firm‐specific determinants of productivity and exporting. They also indicate that only specialization externalities have a positive and significant effect on firms' performance. The replicate results during a period of economic stability (1998–2004) show, however, that specialization and urbanization economies are both relevant predictors of firms' productivity and that more productive firms, in particular the smaller ones, are better able to benefit from agglomeration. This finding has not been confirmed for the post‐revolutionary period.

Date: 2023
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