We examine the role of career preferences, ability, and structural constraints in explaining first-time employment in startups or established firms. Using panel data on 2,243 U.S. science and engineering PhDs observed before and after entering the job market, we find that ex ante career preferences significantly explain who joins a startup, while ability plays a limited role. Many individuals who prefer to join startups prior to graduation take jobs in established firms, in part due to the limited availability of startup jobs and visa constraints. Interestingly, these individuals are more likely to leave their first position in established firms jobs to join a startup later in time. We discuss implications for founders, managers in established firms, as well as for future research and policy makers.
|Number of pages
|Academy of Management Global Proceedings
|Published - 2018
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