IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Determines the Innovation Capability of Firm Founders?



Innovative start-ups, not start-ups in general, seem to be important drivers of economic growth. However, little is known about how such firms look like. As activities of start-ups are strongly related to firm founders, we investigate this question focusing on the innovation capability of firm founders. We find that the combination of different founder characteristics such as university education (at best a combination of technical and commercial education), prior experience in R&D, and strong motivation to realize own innovative ideas increases innovative activities of start-ups by more than 40%.

Suggested Citation

  • Spyros Arvanitis & Tobias Stucki, 2010. "What Determines the Innovation Capability of Firm Founders?," KOF Working papers 10-265, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:10-265

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan- Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2005. "Determinants of long-term growth: New results applying robust estimation and extreme bounds analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 597-617, October.
    2. Oulton, Nicholas, 2001. "Must the Growth Rate Decline? Baumol's Unbalanced Growth Revisited," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 605-627, October.
    3. Heshmati, Almas, 2001. "On the Causality between GDP and Health Care Expenditure in Augmented Solow Growth Model," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 423, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Rivera, Berta & Currais, Luis, 2004. "Public Health Capital and Productivity in the Spanish Regions: A Dynamic Panel Data Model," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 871-885, May.
    5. Hartwig, Jochen, 2008. "What drives health care expenditure?--Baumol's model of 'unbalanced growth' revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 603-623, May.
    6. Alok Bhargava & Dean T. Jamison & Lawrence J. Lau & Christopher J. L. Murray, 2006. "Modeling the effects of health on economic growth," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Econometrics, Statistics And Computational Approaches In Food And Health Sciences, chapter 20, pages 269-286 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
    8. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
    9. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
    10. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    11. David Roodman, 2009. "How to do xtabond2: An introduction to difference and system GMM in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(1), pages 86-136, March.
    12. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Doménech, 2006. "Human Capital in Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, March.
    13. Bonatti, Luigi & Felice, Giulia, 2008. "Endogenous growth and changing sectoral composition in advanced economies," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 109-131, June.
    14. Maroto-Sánchez, Andrés & Cuadrado-Roura, Juan R., 2009. "Is growth of services an obstacle to productivity growth? A comparative analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 254-265, December.
    15. Peneder, Michael, 2003. "Industrial structure and aggregate growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 427-448, December.
    16. Gundlach, Erich, 1994. "Demand Bias as an Explanation for Structural Change," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 249-267.
    17. McDonald, Scott & Roberts, Jennifer, 2002. "Growth and multiple forms of human capital in an augmented Solow model: a panel data investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 271-276, January.
    18. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    19. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
    20. Schettkat, Ronald & Yocarini, Lara, 2006. "The shift to services employment: A review of the literature," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 127-147, June.
    21. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    22. David N. Well, 2007. "Accounting for the Effect Of Health on Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1265-1306.
    23. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, June.
    24. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    25. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    26. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    27. Pugno, Maurizio, 2006. "The service paradox and endogenous economic growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 99-115, January.
    28. Echevarria, Cristina, 1997. "Changes in Sectoral Composition Associated with Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 431-452, May.
    29. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
    30. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimüller, Josef, 2008. "Structural change, Engel's consumption cycles and Kaldor's facts of economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 1317-1328, October.
    31. Rivera, Berta & Currais, Luis, 1999. "Income Variation and Health Expenditure: Evidence for OECD Countries," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 258-267, October.
    32. Vanhoudt, Patrick, 1998. "A fallacy in causality research on growth and capital accumulation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 77-81, July.
    33. Maudos, Joaqui­n & Pastor, José Manuel & Serrano, Lorenzo, 2008. "Explaining the US-EU productivity growth gap: Structural change vs. intra-sectoral effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 311-313, August.
    34. Berta Rivera & Luis Currais, 1999. "Economic growth and health: direct impact or reverse causation?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(11), pages 761-764.
    35. Francesco Pigliaru, 2003. "Detecting Technological Catch-Up in Economic Convergence," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 161-178, May.
    36. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gürkaynak, 2002. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer, and Weil Seriously," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Wong Wei-Kang, 2007. "Economic Growth: A Channel Decomposition Exercise," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, January.
    38. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    39. Quibria, M G & Harrigan, Frank, 1996. "Demand Bias and Structural Change," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 205-213.
    40. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
    41. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    42. Atukeren Erdal, 2007. "A Causal Analysis of the R&D Interactions between the EU and the US," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 7(4), pages 1-29, December.
    43. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    44. Knowles, Stephen & Owen, P. Dorian, 1995. "Health capital and cross-country variation in income per capita in the Mankiw-Romer-Weil model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 99-106, April.
    45. Jochen Hartwig, 2009. "A panel Granger-causality test of endogenous vs. exogenous growth," KOF Working papers 09-231, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    46. Knowles, Stephen & Owen, P Dorian, 1997. "Education and Health in an Effective-Labour Empirical Growth Model," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(223), pages 314-328, December.
    47. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
    48. Sasaki, Hiroaki, 2007. "The rise of service employment and its impact on aggregate productivity growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 438-459, December.
    49. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    50. Elena Podrecca & Gaetano Carmeci, 2001. "Fixed investment and economic growth: new results on causality," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 177-182.
    51. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    52. Claudio De Vincenti, 2007. "'Baumol'S Disease', Production Externalities And Productivity Effects Of Intersectoral Transfers," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 396-412, July.
    53. Tatsuyoshi Miyakoshi & Yoshihiko Tsukuda, 2004. "The causes of the long stagnation in Japan," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 113-120.
    54. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
    55. Selma J. Mushkin, 1962. "Health as an Investment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 129-129.
    56. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Helmut Fryges & Bettina Müller & Michaela Niefert, 2014. "Job machine, think tank, or both: what makes corporate spin-offs different?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 369-391, August.
    2. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2015. "Drivers of Entrepreneurship and Post-entry Performance of Newborn Firms in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 277-305.
    3. Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Niklas Elert & Dan Johansson, 2016. "Are high-growth firms overrepresented in high-tech industries?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-21.
    4. Jolanda Hessels & Peter van der Zwan & Mark Sanders, 2013. "Entrepreneurial activity, industry orientation, and economic growth," Scales Research Reports H201307, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    5. Gersbach, Hans & Schetter, Ulrich & Schneider, Maik, 2015. "How Much Science? The 5 Ws (and 1 H) of Investing in Basic Research," CEPR Discussion Papers 10482, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Thomas Bolli & Martin Woerter, 2013. "Competition and R&D cooperation with universities and competitors," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 38(6), pages 768-787, December.
    7. Spyros Arvanitis & Tobias Stucki, 2014. "The impact of venture capital on the persistence of innovation activities of start-ups," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 849-870, April.
    8. Spyros Arvanitis & Tobias Stucki, 2013. "The Impact of Venture Capital on the Persistence of Innovation Activities of Swiss Start-ups," KOF Working papers 13-332, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    9. Francesco Izzo & Barbara Masiello, 2015. "Strategie di innovazione nelle imprese creative di servizi," ECONOMIA E DIRITTO DEL TERZIARIO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 63-104.
    10. Marco Vivarelli, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Post-Entry Performance: the Microeconomic Evidence," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1286, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    11. Stucki, Tobias, 2016. "How the founders’ general and specific human capital drives export activities of start-ups," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 1014-1030.
    12. Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Is entrepreneurship necessarily good? Microeconomic evidence from developed and developing countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(6), pages 1453-1495, December.
    13. Vivarelli, Marco, 2012. "Drivers of entrepreneurship and post-entry performance : microeconomic evidence from advanced and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6245, The World Bank.
    14. Areti Gkypali & Vasileios Kokkinos & Christos Bouras & Kostas Tsekouras, 2016. "Science parks and regional innovation performance in fiscal austerity era: Less is more?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 313-330, August.
    15. Quatraro, Francesco & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Entrepreneurship In A Developing Country Context," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201314, University of Turin.
    16. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:7:p:1312-1326 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Hoenen, Sebastian & Kolympiris, Christos & Schoenmakers, Wilfred & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas, 2014. "The diminishing signaling value of patents between early rounds of venture capital financing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 956-989.
    18. Isabel Busom & Beatriz Corchuelo & Ester Martínez-Ros, 2014. "Tax incentives… or subsidies for business R&D?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 571-596, October.
    19. Uwitonze, Eric & Heshmati, Almas, 2016. "Service Sector Development and its Determinants in Rwanda," IZA Discussion Papers 10117, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Joern H. Block & Christian O. Fisch & Mirjam van Praag, 2016. "The Schumpeterian Entrepreneur: A Review of the Empirical Evidence on the Antecedents, Behavior, and Consequences of Innovative Entrepreneurship," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-072/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    21. Garcia Martinez, Marian & Zouaghi, Ferdaous & Sanchez Garcia, Mercedes, 2017. "Capturing value from alliance portfolio diversity: The mediating role of R&D human capital in high and low tech industries," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 55-67.
    22. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Entry and Post-Entry Dynamics in Developing Countries," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item


    Start-ups; Innovation; Founder characteristics;

    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
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:10-265. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.