The Cost of Friendship

48 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012 Last revised: 27 Oct 2014

See all articles by Paul A. Gompers

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Vladimir Mukharlyamov

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business

Yuhai Xuan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2012

Abstract

This paper explores two broad questions on collaboration between individuals. First, we investigate what personal characteristics affect people's desire to work together. Second, given the influence of these personal characteristics, we analyze whether this attraction enhances or detracts from performance. Addressing these problems in the venture capital syndication setting, we show that venture capitalists exhibit strong detrimental homophily in their co-investment decisions. We find that individual venture capitalists choose to collaborate with other venture capitalists for both ability-based characteristics (e.g., whether both individuals in a dyad obtained a degree from a top university) and affinity-based characteristics (e.g., whether individuals in a pair share the same ethnic background, attended the same school, or worked for the same employer previously). Moreover, frequent collaborators in syndication are those venture capitalists who display a high level of mutual affinity. We find that while collaborating for ability-based characteristics enhances investment performance, collaborating for affinity-based characteristics dramatically reduces the probability of investment success. A variety of tests show that the cost of affinity is not driven by selection into inferior deals; the effect is most likely attributable to poor decision-making by high-affinity syndicates post investment. Taken together, our results suggest that non-ability-based "birds-of-a-feather-flock-together" effects in collaboration can be costly.

Suggested Citation

Gompers, Paul A. and Mukharlyamov, Vladimir and Xuan, Yuhai, The Cost of Friendship (June 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18141. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2085129

Paul A. Gompers (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6297 (Phone)
617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Vladimir Mukharlyamov

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

HOME PAGE: http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/vm462/

Yuhai Xuan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.illinois.edu/yhxuan/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
82
Abstract Views
2,629
rank
103,096
PlumX Metrics