Research

Where do entrepreneurs come from?  What makes technology-based startups tick?  How do these nascent firms grow and scale in relation to their decisions around hiring, financing, and commercialization strategy?

My research draws from interesting phenomenon and theory at the intersection of entrepreneurship and labor economics. My dissertation research is generously funded by the Kauffman Foundation and supported by the US Census Bureau.

 

Current Projects

"Is There a Startup Wage Premium? Evidence from MIT Graduates"
Stage: Revise and Resubmit

Abstract: While startups are the center of extensive policy discussion given their outsized role in job creation, it is not clear whether they create high quality jobs relative to incumbent firms. This paper investigates the wage differential between venture capital-backed startups and established firms, given that the two firm types compete for talent. Using data on MIT graduates, I find that non-founder employees at VC-backed startups earn 8%-13% higher wages than their counterparts at established firms. To account for unobserved heterogeneity across workers, I exploit the fact that many MIT graduates receive multiple job offers. I find that wage differentials are statistically insignificant from zero when individual fixed effects are included. This implies that much of the startup wage premium in the cross-section can be attributed to selection, and that VC-backed startups pay competitive wages for talent.

 

"Age and Entrepreneurial Success" (with Pierre Azoulay, Ben Jones, and Javier Miranda)
Stage: Working Paper

Abstract: Do young people make better entrepreneurs?  We documents the age of US entrepreneurs using newly-integrated data from the US Census.  While the burden of knowledge theory (Jones, 2009) illustrates that the average age at which inventors make their great discoveries has increased over time, popular anecdotes from Silicon Valley depict great entrepreneurs – such as Mark Zuckerberg and Drew Houston – to be strikingly young.  We examine the age distribution of (successful) entrepreneurs in the US across sectors and regions as well as over time to test whether the cumulative nature of knowledge also acts as a burden on the process of technology entrepreneurship.

 

"Startup Acquisitions and Worker Outcomes" 
Stage: Data analysis

 

Other Publications

"Entrepreneurship and Innovation at MIT: Continuing Global Growth and Impact" (with Ed Roberts and Fiona Murray)
2015 Report available here: http://web.mit.edu/innovate/entrepreneurship2015.pdf

Abstract: This report analyzes the economic impact of MIT alumni-founded companies and highlights the key trends in the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem between 1950 and 2014.  This study estimates that MIT alumni have launched more than 30,000 active companies that employ roughly 4.6 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in annual revenues, which is approximately the size of the world's 10th largest GDP.