We theorize that differences in human assets’ ability to generate value are linked to exit decisions and their effects on firm performance. Using linked employee-employer data from the U.S. Census Bureau on legal services, we find that employees with higher earnings are less likely to leave relative to employees with lower earnings, but if they do leave, they are more likely to move to a spin-out instead of an incumbent firm. Employee entrepreneurship has a larger adverse impact on source firm performance than moves to established firms, even controlling for observable employee quality. Findings suggest that the transfer of human capital, complementary assets, and opportunities all affect mobility decisions and their impact on source firms.
|US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper