Dissertation

In my dissertation, I expanded my interest in entrepreneurship in the United States to a different national context, Sweden, while my enthusiasm for the connections between entrepreneurs, new firms, and social inequality, and my commitment to rigorous research design remain. I use panel data from multiple cohorts on organizations representing all industries in Sweden to examine the conditions that affect employees’ entry into entrepreneurship and their subsequent success. In the first essay, I examine how entrepreneurs’ social networks in previous workplaces affect their decisions to hire employees. By examining multiple mechanisms of social influence among work peers, I am able to partially explain how peer influence shapes entrepreneurs’ recruitment of prior coworkers to build their labor force, contingent on their prior life experience and social proximity among work peers. In the second essay, I investigate the consequences of initial hires for startups’ performance; in particular, I examine their revenue growth and subsequent employment size. In my third essay, I draw on a community ecology perspective to explain the consequences of industrial agglomerations for entrepreneurial activities. Throughout my dissertation, I place a strong emphasis on research design and causal inference, while maintaining clarity and candor about the strengths and limitations of my data and methodological approaches in each essay.