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Working Paper, No. 2003-35, 2003
Where the Headquarters Are – Evidence from Large Public Companies 1990-2000
This paper examines the location of headquarter growth of large public companies during the 1990s. Headquarters continue to be attracted by large metropolitan areas. Yet among that group they continue to disperse into medium-sized centers. This paper identifies 6 different categories of gross flows underlying the net change of headquarters observed during the 90s. There is strong variation among the 50 largest metro areas in terms of the composition of these gross flows. On average, entry and exit represent over 2/3 of all gross flow activity. Pure relocation of headquarters is found to lead to urbanization. Mergers tend to not impact the distributing of headquarters across MSAs. A binomial probability model of the decision to move utilizes company-level as well as MSA-level data and finds that MSA-level amenities impact the choice to move.


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