75 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021
Date Written: August 30, 2021
We use cross-state business registrations to track the geographic movement of startups with high growth potential. In their first five years, 6.6% percent of these startups move across state borders. Though startup births are concentrated geographically, hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston on net lose startups to entrepreneurial migration. A revealed preference approach nonparametrically identifies the average utility of cities to migrant founders. University towns and startup hubs have low relative utility. This pattern is due neither to vertical sorting nor industrial specialization. The higher-quality startups move to lower-tax, business-friendly cities, while less growth-oriented startups move to low-tax, high-amenity cities.
Keywords: entrepreneurship, migration, location, startup cartography
JEL Classification: L26
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