NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Choosing between Growth and Glory

Sharon Belenzon, Aaron Chatterji, Brendan Daley

NBER Working Paper No. 24901
Issued in August 2018
NBER Program(s):The Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

Prior work has established that the financing environment can impact firm strategy. We argue that this influence can shape the earliest strategic choices of a new venture by creating a potential tradeoff between two objectives: rapid growth and reaping the benefits of a positive reputation (glory). We leverage a simple reputation-building strategic choice, naming the firm after the founder (eponymy), that is associated with superior profitability. Next, we argue via a formal model that the availability of/dependence on external financing can explain why high-growth firms are rarely eponymous. We find empirical support for the model's predictions using a large dataset of 1 million European firms. Eponymous firms grow considerably more slowly than similarly profitable firms. Moreover, eponymy varies in accordance with the firm's financing environment in a pattern consistent with our model. We discuss implications for the literature on new venture strategy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24901

 
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