Research and teaching

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.

Corporate demography and income inequality

August 7th, 2009 | Posted by admin in 2007 - (0 Comments)

Jesper B. Sørensen and Olav Sorenson

We examine the relationship between income inequality and corporate demography in regional labor markets and specify two mechanisms through which the number and diversity of employers in a labor market affect wage dispersion. Vertical differentiation, or variation in the ability of organizations of a particular kind to benefit from labor inputs, amplifies inequality through quality sorting, as the most productive employees in a particular domain pair with the most productive employers. Increasing horizontal differentiation—variation in the kinds of organizations—reduces inequality as individuals can more easily find firms interested in their distinctive attributes and talents. Our analysis of Danish census data provides support for each thesis. Increased numbers of organizations operating within an industry in a region, a proxy for vertical differentiation, increases wage dispersion in that industry-region. Variation in wages, however, declines with increased horizontal differentiation among employers; this is measured by the diversity of industries offering employment within a region and the variance in firm sizes in an industry-region.

American Sociological Review, 72 (2007): 766-783