We map the distribution of High-Growth Firms (HGFs, or “gazelles”) across the dimensions of firm size and firm age using contour plots, where firm size and growth are measured in terms of employees. The analysis is based on Swedish total population data for the period 1990–2016, covering approximately 11, 000, 000 firm-year observations. The results show that the majority of HGFs are small, which partly follows the high representation of small firms in the population. Yet when considering the proportions of HGFs across firm ages and sizes, a distinct feature emerges in that the territory of small, old firms appears to be almost completely deserted—despite their large overall numbers—where firms in this category have the (by far) lowest chances of becoming HGFs.
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