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Out of sight but not out of mind: Why failure to account for left truncation biases research on failure rates

  • Yang, Tiantian
  • Aldrich, Howard E.
Registered author(s):

    We note at least three major issues in entrepreneurship theory that can be clarified by studying the survival chances of new ventures: the extent to which entrepreneurs are so constrained by initial founding conditions that they are unable to learn; the degree to which heterogeneity and innovative capabilities are lost due to the failure of new ventures; and the imprinting effects of new ventures' early days on their subsequent development. However, previous research on these issues has been inconclusive because of problems in research design and data analysis. In this paper, we shed light on new venture failure rates by assessing the validity and generalizability of previous findings. We argue that research using registration data to study new ventures is very likely to generate biased results and that research attempting to track new ventures from a very early stage can still suffer from selection bias due to left truncation. Using a sample of new ventures from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics II, we provide evidence for the extent of such biases. We offer a statistical solution to left truncation that can be easily applied in widely used statistical programs.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S088390261200002X
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Venturing.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 477-492

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:27:y:2012:i:4:p:477-492
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusvent

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    1. Brush, Candida G. & Manolova, Tatiana S. & Edelman, Linda F., 2008. "Properties of emerging organizations: An empirical test," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 547-566, September.
    2. Wiklund, Johan & Baker, Ted & Shepherd, Dean, 2010. "The age-effect of financial indicators as buffers against the liability of newness," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 423-437, July.
    3. Wennberg, Karl & Wiklund, Johan & DeTienne, Dawn R. & Cardon, Melissa S., 2010. "Reconceptualizing entrepreneurial exit: Divergent exit routes and their drivers," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 361-375, July.
    4. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    5. Audretsch, David B & Mahmood, Talat, 1995. "New Firm Survival: New Results Using a Hazard Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 97-103, February.
    6. Lichtenstein, Benyamin B. & Carter, Nancy M. & Dooley, Kevin J. & Gartner, William B., 2007. "Complexity dynamics of nascent entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 236-261, March.
    7. Beckman, Christine M. & Burton, M. Diane & O'Reilly, Charles, 2007. "Early teams: The impact of team demography on VC financing and going public," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 147-173, March.
    8. Bates, Timothy, 2005. "Analysis of young, small firms that have closed: delineating successful from unsuccessful closures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 343-358, May.
    9. Martinez Martha A. & Yang Tiantian & Aldrich Howard E., 2011. "Entrepreneurship as an Evolutionary Process: Research Progress and Challenges," Entrepreneurship Research Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-28, January.
    10. Van de Ven, Andrew H. & Engleman, Rhonda M., 2004. "Event- and outcome-driven explanations of entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 343-358, May.
    11. Reynolds, Paul & Miller, Brenda, 1992. "New firm gestation: Conception, birth, and implications for research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 405-417, September.
    12. Reynolds, Paul D., 2007. "New Firm Creation in the United States A PSED I Overview," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 3(1), pages 1-150, February.
    13. Delmar, Frederic & Shane, Scott, 2004. "Legitimating first: organizing activities and the survival of new ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 385-410, May.
    14. Audretsch, David B, 1991. "New-Firm Survival and the Technological Regime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 441-50, August.
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