This thesis consists of three projects employing complexity economics methods to explore firm dynamics. The first is the Firm Ecosystem Model, which addresses the institutional conditions of capital access and entrenched competitive advantage. Larger firms will be more competitive than smaller firms due to efficiencies of scale, but the persistence of larger firms is also supported institutionally through mechanisms such as tax policy, capital access mechanisms and industry-favorable legislation. At the same time, evidence suggests that small firms innovate more than larger firms, and an aggressive firm-as-value perspective incentivizes early investment in new firms in an attempt to capture that value. The Ecological Firm Model explores the effects of the differences in innovation and investment patterns and persistence rates between large and small firms.
The second project is the Structural Inertia Model, which is intended to build theory around why larger firms may be less successful in capturing new marketshare than smaller firms, as well as to advance fitness landscape methods. The model explores the possibility that firms with larger scopes may be less effective in mitigating the costs of cooperation because conditions may arise that cause intrafirm conflicts. The model is implemented on structured fitness landscapes derived using the maximal order of interaction (NM) formulation and described using local optima networks (LONs), thus integrating these novel techniques.
Finally, firm dynamics can serve as a proxy for the ease at which people can voluntarily enter into the legal cooperative agreements that constitute firms. The third project, the Emergent Firm model, is an exploration of how this dynamic of voluntary association may be affected by differing capital institutions, and explores the macroeconomic implications of the economies that emerge out of the various resulting firm populations.