Spouses and entrepreneurship
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofCahier de recherche ; no. 2019-05.
Publisher(s)Université de Montréal. Département de sciences économiques.
Does having a spouse influence an individual’s decision to start a firm and what firms they create? The answer to this question is crucial for our understanding of how recent changes to family composition influence firm creation. We develop a model of endogenous entrepreneurship with spousal labour supply decisions and endogenous marriage. Married individuals have three channels, that go in opposite directions, which influence their choice to start a firm relative to the unmarried. Firstly, spouses work less when the business is more profitable partially offsetting the benefit of higher profits (spousal substitution effect). Secondly, if the business fails, the spouse works more hours (spousal insurance effect). Finally, a married individual shares their income with their spouse which decreases their income as a worker, their cost to entrepreneurship (spousal opportunity cost effect). We proceed to test empirically the relative strength of these channels. The model is informative of the components of the error term and the conditions for validity of our instrumental variable strategy. Using city level variation in the past composition of immigrants we show higher marriage rates are associated to more entry and lower average size of startups.