Entrepreneurial Couples

28 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2014

See all articles by Michael S. Dahl

Michael S. Dahl

Aalborg University Business School

Mirjam van Praag

University of Amsterdam - Department of Economics; Copenhagen Business School; Tinbergen Institute; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Peter Thompson

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2014


We study possible motivations for co-entrepreneurial couples to start up a joint firm, using a sample of 1,069 Danish couples that established a joint enterprise between 2001 and 2010. We compare their pre-entry characteristics, firm performance and post-dissolution private and financial outcomes with a selected set of comparable firms and couples. We find evidence that couples often establish a business together because one spouse – most commonly the female – has limited outside opportunities in the labor market. However, the financial benefits for each of the spouses, and especially the female, are larger in co-entrepreneurial firms, both during the life of the business and post-dissolution. The start-up of co-entrepreneurial firms seems therefore a sound investment in the human capital of both spouses as well as in the reduction of income inequality in the household. We find no evidence of non-pecuniary benefits or costs of co-entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, motives, performance, couples, co-entrepreneurship.

JEL Classification: J12, L26

Suggested Citation

Dahl, Michael Slavensky and van Praag, Mirjam and Thompson, Peter, Entrepreneurial Couples (February 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2420369 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2420369

Michael Slavensky Dahl

Aalborg University Business School ( email )

Fibigerstraede 11
Aalborg Ø, 9220

HOME PAGE: http://msdahl.net

Mirjam Van Praag (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
+31 20 525 4096 (Phone)
+31 20 525 4182 (Fax)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg, 2000

Tinbergen Institute

Gustav Mahlerlaan

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072

Peter Thompson

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30308-1149
United States

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