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Spin-offs and the Market for Ideas

  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

    (Princeton University)

  • Satyajit Chatterjee

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

We propose a theory of firm dynamics in which workers have ideas for new projects that can be sold in a market to existing firms or, at a cost, implemented in new firms: spin-offs. Workers have private information about the quality of their ideas. Because of an adverse selection problem, workers can sell their ideas to existing firms only at a price that is not contingent on their information. Therefore, workers with very good ideas decide to spin-off and set up a new firm. Since entrepreneurs of existing firms pay a price for the ideas sold in the market that implies zero expected profits for them, firm growth is scale independent. The entry and growth process of firms in this economy leads to an invariant distribution that resembles the one in the US economy.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 86.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:86
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Establishment Size Dynamics in the Aggregate Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1639-1666, December.
  2. April Mitchell Franco & Darren Filson, 2000. "Knowledge diffusion through employee mobility," Staff Report 272, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  4. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1995. "Start-ups, Spin-offs, and Internal Projects," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 362-78, October.
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  7. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  8. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2010. "On the mechanics of firm growth," Staff Report 440, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  10. Steven Klepper & Sally Sleeper, 2005. "Entry by Spinoffs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(8), pages 1291-1306, August.
  11. Prusa, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1994. "Can Companies Maintain Their Initial Innovation Thrust? A Study of the PC Software Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 523-40, August.
  12. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 513-31, July.
  13. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  14. Robert E. Hall & Susan E. Woodward, 2007. "The Incentives to Start New Companies: Evidence from Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 13056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  16. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
  17. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  18. Peter L. Rousseau & Boyan Jovanovic, 2008. "US Investment 1901-2005: Incumbents, Entrants, and Q," 2008 Meeting Papers 696, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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