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Founders’ human capital and external knowledge sourcing: An absorptive capacity perspective for innovative start-ups

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  • Masatoshi Kato

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)

Abstract

This study explores the role of founders’ human capital in determining the external knowledge sourcing (licensing-in and joint R&D) of a firm during the start-up period using panel data drawn from original questionnaire surveys conducted in Japan. The results of a probit model with an endogenous regressor show that firms managed by founders with a high level of specific human capital, measured as prior work experience in a related field or as technological experience, tend to engage in external knowledge sourcing because of their absorptive capacity. The findings indicate that this type of human capital also promotes R&D investment. Contrariwise, this study finds that firms managed by founders with a high level of general human capital, measured as educational attainment, tend to invest more in R&D as an absorptive capacity-building activity, which may promote external knowledge sourcing. The implications of these findings are discussed from the perspective of economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Masatoshi Kato, 2017. "Founders’ human capital and external knowledge sourcing: An absorptive capacity perspective for innovative start-ups," Discussion Paper Series 162, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Jun 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:162
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    Keywords

    Start-up; Founder; General human capital; Specific human capital; R&D investment; External knowledge sourcing.;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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