The outline of this thesis is as follows. Starting from the simple question ‘How
many firms are there?’ the available data in the Netherlands is discussed, compared
and described in chapter 2. This chapter gives a general overview on the several
aspects of ‘firmography’ in the Netherlands and concludes with an international
The chapters 3 through 6 and 8 cover the firmographic events that are later on used
in the simulation model. For each of the events, the data and developments are
described, theories are applied and models are sought for that explain variations
and trends. The models should not only be able to describe the data but should also
be able to predict the future events. These five chapters use the LISA database for
the province of Gelderland as input. Chapter 3 covers the event of start-up firms,
and chapter 4 the event of the termination of establishments. Chapter 5 handles the
migration of firms. Since both events migration and start-ups are based on a two
step decision, namely first the decision to migrate (or start), and next the location
choice, the location choice is covered in a separate chapter (chapter 6: where
to?). Chapter 7 continues with the spatial aspects of SimFirms. In this chapter
it is analysed how the firmographic events start-ups and closures influence the
clustering of firms, using spatial analysis techniques originally developed within
the field of epidemiology. Chapter 8 handles the last event, the growth of firms (in
terms of numbers of employees).
In chapter 9 all the models described in chapters 3 through 8 are brought together
in the full simulation model SimFirms. This chapter describes the validation,
calibration and randomness issues that were encountered. In this chapter we
further explain how we dealt with the labour market tension mentioned earlier,
and we give some initial results of the baseline model.
In chapter 10 three different scenarios are formulated and used as input in
SimFirms to estimate different developments. These scenarios are labelled:
‘improved investment climate’, ‘attraction of the city-region’ and ‘credit crunch’.
The effects of the scenarios are discussed. This thesis ends with chapter 11 in
which conclusions are drawn and the most important findings are being evaluated.