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Hierarchies and entrepreneurship

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  • Tåg, Joacim
  • Åstebro, Thomas
  • Thompson, Peter

Abstract

We establish a correlation between the hierarchical structure of a firm and the likelihood of business creation among its former employees, using a sample of 16 million observations of Swedish workers and a novel proxy for hierarchies based on occupation data. Conditional on firm size and many other variables, employees in firms with more layers are less likely to enter entrepreneurship, to become self-employed, and to switch to another employer. The effects of layers are much stronger for business creation than for job-switching and they are stronger for entrepreneurship than for self-employment. We discuss two potential explanations for the distinctive hierarchy effect we find. Part of the effect could be to be due to preference sorting by employees, and part due to employees in firms with fewer layers having a broader range of skills. One test showing that the probability of entrepreneurship increases with their prior rank in an organization is consistent with ability sorting and inconsistent with preference sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Tåg, Joacim & Åstebro, Thomas & Thompson, Peter, 2016. "Hierarchies and entrepreneurship," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 129-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:89:y:2016:i:c:p:129-147
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.06.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Sol, Joeri & van Praag, Mirjam C. & Vladasel, Theodor, 2016. "On the Origins of Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Sibling Correlations," IZA Discussion Papers 10278, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Michael S. Dahl & Mirjam van Praag & Peter Thompson, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Couples," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-055/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Vera Rocha & Anabela Carneiro & Celeste Varum, 2015. "Entry and exit dynamics of nascent business owners," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 63-84, June.
    4. Henrekson, Magnus & Sanandaji, Tino, 2013. "Small Business Activity Does not Measure Entrepreneurship," Working Paper Series 959, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 26 Jan 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    L26; D20; J20; M50; Entrepreneurship; Employee mobility; Hierarchy; Rank; Small firm effect;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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