Selection and Firm Survival. Evidence from the Shipbuilding Industry (1825-1914)

Peter Thompson

There are two excel files: firms.xls contains basic information about shipyards; vessels.xls record information about individual vessels. Please remember that this data set covers only vessels with metal hulls with at least 20 tons displacement.
The variables in the files are as follows:

Firms.xls

Key Dates
 
  Founding year
Year company was founded. This can be many years before entry into iron and steel shipbuilding.

  Entry year Year first metal vessel was built.
  Last year Last year recorded in dataset
  Exit year Last year of production in shipbuilding.
  Closing year Year company closed. This can be many years after exit from shipbuilding.
Prior Background
A set of dummy variables indicating whether the firm (or its founders) had previously been engaged in any of the following activities:

foundry work, construction, manufacturer of steam engines, locomotive manufacture, railroads, naval engineering, metal shipbuilding (in another firm), wooden shipbuilding, or shipping. These are not mutually exclusive fields.

The category “unknown” arises when I essentially know nothing about the firm.

Takeover of yard
Indicates if firm entered industry by purchasing an existing shipyard engaged in metal shipbuilding.

Firm location
City and state of yard.

Form of Exit
A set of dummy variables indicated why the firm exited:

Bankruptcy, into a trust (such as the American Shipbuilding Corp.), merger, death or retirement of owner, exited industry but continued activities in other areas, firms was sold, a miscellaneous (but known) category, and unknown.


Vessels. xls

The following variables are self-explanatory:
Official number, year built, firm name, vessel type, gross tons, length, breadth, depth, hull material, propulsion system engine, who the vessel was built for, first home port

Year withdrawn and reason withdrawn
This is the year the vessel stops being registered, and the reason for the end of the registration (e.g. vessel was scrapped).

As usual, missing data means I don’t know.

Download Data Set

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