Essays on High-Quality Entrepreneurship On the Origins and Survival of Start-ups and the Role of Universities in the Location Decision

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH

Sammanfattning: This thesis consists of four self-contained essays on the topic of entrepreneurship.[Essay I] uses a unique and detailed Swedish dataset to explore firm, regional, and industry determinants that stimulate spin-offs using the choice of the individuals as the level of analysis. The most important results are that the size of the region and of the local entrepreneurial culture (the relative number of SMEs) has a positive effect on the propensity of the individual to set up a new venture corroborating the results of past firm- and regional-level studies. Industrial specialization is shown to have a positive impact on spin-offs, albeit only in high-tech manufacturing and in knowledge intensive business service sectors. Moreover, using an entropy measure to disentangle unrelated and related variety, it is found that the former has a significantly negative while the latter a significantly positive effect on the propensity of the individual to start a spin-off.[Essay II] asks how localisation (MAR) and diversity (Jacobs) externalities affect opportunity-based entrepreneurship across all industry sectors in Sweden’s private economy in the period 1999-2005. MAR externalities are found to positively affect entrepreneurship across all sectors. Jacobs externalities, measured as related variety using an entropy measure, positively affect entrepreneurship in high-tech manufacturing and in knowledge intensive business services but have no significant effect on low-tech manufacturing and other services. The results suggest that previous studies that find no evidence of entrepreneurship benefiting from a diverse local market composition might be using too broad measures of variety.[Essay III] analyses how different R&D strategies of incumbent firms affect the quantity and quality of their entrepreneurial spawning. By examining entrepreneurial ventures of ex-employees of firms with different R&D strategies three things emerge: First, firms with persistent R&D investments with a general superiority in sales, exports, productivity, profitability and wages are less likely to generate entrepreneurs than firm with temporary or no R&D investments. Second, start-ups from knowledge intensive business service (KIBS) firms with persistent R&D investments have a significantly increased probability of survival.  No corresponding association between the R&D strategies of incumbents and survival of entrepreneurial spawns is found for incumbents in manufacturing sectors. Third, spin-outs from KIBS-firms are more likely to survive if they start in the same firm, indicating the importance of inherited related knowledge. The findings suggest that R&D intensive firms spur fewer entrepreneurs, but their entrepreneurial spawns tend to be of higher quality. [Essay IV] investigates how universities may affect regional entrepreneurship through the localisation decisions of entrepreneurial alumni. Empirically, a comprehensive, individual-level dataset from Sweden is used for the period 2003-2005. The results suggest that even when controlling for their spatial history, individuals have an increased propensity to set up in the region where they studied. This effect is found to substitute for both urbanisation economies and localisation economies as drivers of regional-level entrepreneurship. Thus, the analysis provides evidence on how universities affect regional economic development that complements the strong focus on spin-off activities by university researchers in previous studies.