Risky Business? Earnings Prospects of Employees at Young Firms

Jun 2018 | 852

Authors: Pawel Adrjan


Young firms are an engine of job creation, but little is known about the quality of the jobs that they offer. I use a matched employer-employee dataset to study how starting wages and lifecycle earnings of employees differ between young and mature firms. I find that young firms pay a small premium to new hires, but subsequent wage growth is better at mature firms, both within continuing job matches and when individuals change jobs. These results are confirmed by several approaches to addressing sorting and selection of employees into firms of different ages. There is substantial heterogeneity of outcomes: the few young firms that survive and become highly productive pay higher wages to employees from the outset than less successful young firms. Overall, highly-paid and stable jobs at young firms are rare. Policies that aim to stimulate job growth by encouraging the formation of new firms should therefore pay close attention to the types of firms that form as a result.

JEL Codes: J21, J23, J31, L26


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