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Wages in high-tech start-ups – Do academic spin-offs pay a wage premium?

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  • Dorner, Matthias
  • Fryges, Helmut
  • Schopen, Kathrin

Abstract

Due to their origin in universities, academic spin-offs operate at the forefront of technological development. Therefore, academic spin-offs exhibit a skill-biased labour demand, i.e. academic spin-offs have a high demand for employees with cutting-edge knowledge and technical skills. In order to accommodate this demand, academic spin-offs may have to pay a relative wage premium compared to other high-tech start-ups. However, neither a comprehensive theoretical assessment nor the empirical literature on wages in start-ups unambiguously predicts the existence and the direction of wage differentials between academic spin-offs and non-spin-offs. This paper addresses this research gap and examines empirically whether or not academic spin-offs pay their employees a wage premium. Using a unique linked employer-employee data set of German high-tech start-ups, we estimate Mincer-type wage regressions applying the Hausman-Taylor panel estimator. Our results show that academic spin-offs do not pay a wage premium in general. However, a notable exception to this general result is that academic spin-offs that commercialise new scientific results or methods pay a wage premium to employees with links to the university sector − either as university graduates or as student workers.

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  • Dorner, Matthias & Fryges, Helmut & Schopen, Kathrin, 2017. "Wages in high-tech start-ups – Do academic spin-offs pay a wage premium?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:1:p:1-18 DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2016.09.002
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    Keywords

    Wages; High-tech start-ups; Academic spin-offs; Linked employer-employee data;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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