Research and teaching

Regional ecologies of entrepreneurship

September 11th, 2017 | Posted by admin in Forthcoming - (0 Comments)

Olav Sorenson

Why do some regions produce more entrepreneurs than others? An ecological lens provides insight into this question: The demography of organizations in a region – particularly the proportion of small and young em- ployers – shapes many aspects of the environment for would-be entrepreneurs: (i) beliefs about the desirability of founding a firm, (ii) opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship and to build the abilities needed to succeed, and (iii) the ease of acquiring critical resources. Births of new industries and the demise of mature ones can therefore catalyze rapid changes in the rates of entrepreneurship that become self-reinforcing.

Journal of Economic Geography, in press

Do startups pay less?

August 22nd, 2017 | Posted by admin in Forthcoming - (0 Comments)

M. Diane Burton, Michael S. Dahl, and Olav Sorenson

We analyzed Danish registry data from 1991 to 2006 to determine how firm age and size influence wages. Unadjusted statistics suggest that smaller firms paid less than larger ones and that firm age had little or no bearing on wages. After adjusting for differences in the characteristics of employees hired by these firms, however, we observed both firm age and firm size effects. We found that larger firms paid more than smaller firms for observationally-equivalent individuals but, contrary to conventional wisdom, that younger firms paid more than older firms. The size effect, however, dominates the age effect. Thus, while the typical startup – being both young and small – paid less than a more established employer, the largest ones paid a wage premium.

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, forthcoming.

Valentina Assenova and Olav Sorenson

Entrepreneurs in many emerging economies start their firm informally, without registering with the state. We examine how informality at the time of founding affected the growth and performance of 12,146 firms in 18 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings indicate that entrepreneurs who registered their firms at founding enjoyed greater success, in terms of sales and employment. But these benefits varied widely across countries. Countries in which people perceive the government as being less corrupt, those in which they have greater trust in the courts, and those with lower levels of ethnic conflict had larger performance benefits associated with being formal. The benefits of firm formalization therefore appear to depend on the socio-political legitimacy of the state.

Organization Science, 28 (2017): in press