Homophily in Entrepreneurial Team Formation
We study the role of homophily in group formation. Using a unique dataset of MBA students, we observe homophily in ethnicity and gender increases the probability of forming teams by 25%. Homophily in education and past working experience increases the probability of forming teams by 17% and 11 % respectively. Homophily in education and working experience is stronger among males than females. Further, we examine the causal impact of homophily on team performance. Homophily in ethnicity increases team performance by lifting teams in bottom quantiles to median performance quantiles, but it does not increase the chance of being top performers. Our findings have implications for understanding the lack of diversity in entrepreneurship and venture capital industry.
Support for this research was provided by the Division of Research at the Harvard Business School. Lauren Cohen provided helpful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.