Flight to Safety: How Economic Downturns Affect Talent Flows to Startups
54 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2020 Last revised: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 11, 2021
Using proprietary data from AngelList Talent, we study how individuals’ job search and application behavior changed during the COVID-19 downturn. We find that job seekers shifted their searches toward more established firms and away from early-stage startups, even within the same individual over time. Simultaneously, they broadened their other search parameters. Relative to more established firms, early-stage startups experienced a decline in applications, primarily driven by higher-quality candidates. These declines hold within a firm as well as within a job posting over time. Our findings uncover a flight to safety channel in the labor market, which may amplify the pro-cyclical nature of entrepreneurial activities.
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