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Matching of Individuals for Start-Ups: A Test of the O-Ring Theory

  • Müller, Bettina

In this paper I analyse how individuals match for for the purpose of setting up a new firm. As a theoretical basis I use the O-ring theory introduced by Kremer (1993) and applied to new firms by Fabel (2004). The O-ring theory predicts that individuals segregate between firms according to their level of ability. Further, the theory implies that a higher average ability level within firms is positively related to both the number of individuals and capital per head. Using a rich employer-employee data set on the whole population of Danish firms founded in 1998 most of the predictions of the O-ring theory are rejected. I find that individuals do not match with individuals with the same level of ability. Furthermore, ability and firm size turn out to be negatively correlated. There is only some support for the hypothesis concerning the positive relationship between ability and capital per head.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 08-112.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7502
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  1. Susanna Iranzo & Fabiano Schivardi & Elisa Tosetti, 2006. "Skill dispersion and firm productivity; an analysis with employer-employee matched data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 577, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Timothy Dunne & Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Kenneth R. Troske, 2004. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in United States Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 397-430, April.
  3. Grossmann, G.M. & Maggi, G., 1998. "Diversity and Trade," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
  5. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-59, October.
  6. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," NBER Working Papers 4917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Koellinger, Ph.D., 2007. "Why Are Some Entrepreneurs More Innovative Than Others?," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2007-024-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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