Unemployment, entrepreneurship and firm outcomes
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofCahier de recherche ; no. 2019-04.
Publisher(s)Université de Montréal. Département de sciences économiques.
Are there differences between firms created by unemployed individuals relative to otherwise identical employed individuals? The answer is crucial for understanding the impact of policies that promote entrepreneurship among the unemployed. I develop an equilibrium model of entrepreneurship. Different outside options imply the unemployed are more likely to start firms, but these are smaller and fail more often. I verify these implications using a new administrative Canadian matched owner-employer-employee dataset. I use firm closures to identify random assignments of individuals to unemployment. I find that subsidies for firms started by the unemployed induce a reallocation of resources to low-productivity firms. The mechanism is further tested empirically by verifying that wage workers are more responsive to wages than the unemployed in their decision to start a firm.