The Viability of the Survivor Principle
| Lasse Lien |
The survivor principle holds that the competitive process weeds out inefficient firms, so that hypotheses about efficient behavior can be tested by observing how firms actually behave. This principle underlies a large body of empirical work in strategy, economics, and management. But do competitive markets actually display what is efficient? Can we safely make the shortcut of hypothesizing that, say X, is efficient, and then test that claim by observing whether firms actually do X? Surely the competitive process is somewhat noisy and imperfect. While we all know anecdotes that seem to disprove the SP it may still be a reasonable approximation in the aggregate. This astonishing paper tests the validity of the SP in the context of corporate diversification.