We reexamine the differences in the profitability distributions of listed companies in the United States and Japan. To control for cross-country differences in the industrial composition, firm size, and firm age distribution, we construct a matched sample using Mahalanobis nearest neighbor matching with respect to these factors. The matched sample supports the finding of existing studies that the median and the standard deviation of profitability are significantly higher in the United States than in Japan. Our matched panel data indicate that this difference arises from both larger firm heterogeneity and more intensive risk-taking in the United States. The sector-by-sector analysis shows that the standard deviation gap is larger in the sectors with more intensive churning in asset-size ranking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas