Research and teaching
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Sampsa Samila and Olav Sorenson

We find that the enforcement of non-compete clauses significantly impedes entrepreneurship and regional growth. Based on a panel of metropolitan areas in the United States from 1993 to 2002, our results indicate that, relative to regions in states that enforce non-compete covenants, an increase in the local supply of venture capital in states that restrict them has significantly stronger positive effects on (i) the number of patents, (ii) the number of firm starts, and (iii) employment. We address potential endogeneity issues in the supply of venture capital by using endowment returns as an instrumental variable. Our results point to a strong interaction between financial intermediation and the legal regime in promoting entrepreneurship and growth.

Management Science, 57 (2011): 425-438

Toby E. Stuart and Olav Sorenson

In this paper, we examine the ecological consequences of initial public offerings (IPOs) and acquisitions, specifically how the spatial distribution of these events influences the location-specific founding rates of new companies. We explore whether relatively small spatial units (metropolitan statistical areas) in close geographic proximity to firms that recently have been acquired or experienced an IPO exhibit high new venture creation rates and whether the magnitudes of these effects depend on regional differences in statutes governing the freedom of employees to move between employers. Count models of biotechnology firm foundings establish three findings: (1) IPOs of organizations located contiguous to or within an MSA accelerate the founding rate within that MSA, (2) acquisitions of biotech firms situated near to or within an MSA accelerate the founding rate within the MSA, but only when the acquirer enters from outside of the biotech industry, and (3) the enforceability of post-employment non-compete covenants, which is determined at the state level, strongly moderates these effects.

Administrative Science Quarterly, 48 (2003): 175-201