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Employee Compensation in Entrepreneurial Companies

  • Bengtsson, Ola

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Hand, John R. M.

    (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)

Despite the central role played by human capital in entrepreneurship, little is known about how employees in entrepreneurial firms are compensated and incentivized. We address this gap in the literature by studying 18,935 non-CEO compensation contracts across 1,809 privately-held venture-backed companies. Our key finding is that employee compensation varies with the degree to which VCs versus founders control the business. We show that relative to founder-controlled firms, VC-controlled firms pay their hired-on (i.e., non-founder) employees higher cash salaries, provide stronger cash and equity incentives, and have more formal pay policies in place. We also observe that founder employees earn less cash pay and face weaker cash incentives than do hired-on employees, but have stronger equity incentives. We propose that the compensation differences we identify arise because the preferences and capabilities of controlling shareholders significantly influence the quality of the human capital attracted and retained by the firm.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 922.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 13 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0922
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  3. Lerner, Josh, 1995. " Venture Capitalists and the Oversight of Private Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 301-18, March.
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  8. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  9. Baker, Malcolm & Gompers, Paul A, 2003. "The Determinants of Board Structure at the Initial Public Offering," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 569-98, October.
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  14. Thomas Chemmanur & Karthik Krishnan & Debarshi Nandy, 2008. "How Does Venture Capital Financing Improve Efficiency in Private Firms? A Look Beneath the Surface," Working Papers 08-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Gompers, Paul A., 1998. "Venture capital growing pains: Should the market diet?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 1089-1104, August.
  16. Paige Ouimet & Rebecca Zarutskie, 2011. "Who Works for Startups? The Relation between Firm Age, Employee Age, and Growth," Working Papers 11-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
  18. Walter Y. Oi & Todd L. Idson, 1999. "Workers Are More Productive in Large Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 104-108, May.
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