Wages in High-Tech Start-Ups – Do Academic Spin-Offs Pay a Wage Premium?
48 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 2015
Due to their origin from universities, academic spin‐offs operate at the forefront of the technological development. Therefore, spin‐offs exhibit a skill‐biased labour demand, i.e. spin‐offs have a high demand for employees with cutting edge knowledge and technical skills. In order to accommodate this demand, spin‐offs may have to pay a relative wage premium compared to other high‐tech start‐ups. However, neither a comprehensive theoretical assessment nor the empirical literature on wages in start‐ups unambiguously predicts the existence and the direction of wage differentials between spin‐offs and non‐spin‐offs. This paper addresses this research gap and examines empirically whether or not spin‐offs pay their employees a wage premium. Using a unique linked employer‐employee data set of German high‐tech start‐ups, we estimate Mincer‐type wage regressions applying the Hausman‐Taylor panel estimator. Our results show that spin‐offs do not pay a wage premium in general. However, a notable exception from this general result is that spin‐offs that commercialise new scientific results or methods provide higher wages to employees with linkages to the university sector – either as university graduates or as student workers.
Keywords: wages, high‐tech start‐ups, academic spin‐offs, linked employer‐employee data
JEL Classification: J31, L26, M13, O34
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