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The role of industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge in the survival of new firms

Author

Listed:
  • Cristian Jara-Figueroa
  • Bogang Jun
  • Edward Glaeser
  • Cesar Hidalgo

Abstract

How do regions acquire the knowledge they need to diversify their economic activities? How does the migration of workers among firms and industries contribute to the diffusion of that knowledge? Here we measure the industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge carried by workers from one establishment to the next using a dataset summarizing the individual work history for an entire country. We study pioneer firms?firms operating in an industry that was not present in a region?because the success of pioneers is the basic unit of regional economic diversification. We find that the growth and survival of pioneers increase significantly when their first hires are workers with experience in a related industry, and with work experience in the same location, but not with past experience in a related occupation. We compare these results with new firms that are not pioneers and find that industry specific knowledge is significantly more important for pioneer than non-pioneer firms. To address endogeneity we use Bartik instruments, which leverage national fluctuations in the demand for an activity as shocks for local labor supply. The instrumental variable estimates support the finding that industry related knowledge is a predictor of the survival and growth of pioneer firms. These findings expand our understanding of the micro-mechanisms underlying regional economic diversification events.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristian Jara-Figueroa & Bogang Jun & Edward Glaeser & Cesar Hidalgo, 2018. "The role of industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge in the survival of new firms," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1828, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1828
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    industry; occupation; knowledge; firm; survival;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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