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Who lives longer? Startups vs spinoffs founded as proprietorships

Andrea Furlan (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 3 May 2016




Studies on spinoffs neglect firms founded by single individuals (i.e. proprietorships) thus overlooking a large portion of new ventures. Moreover, scholars usually do not consider the effect of the rank, and the amount, of founder’s working experience on spinoff’s survival. The purpose of this paper is to analyze a sample of 3,456 Italian manufacturing proprietorships.


Out of an initial population of some 6,000 firms, the authors obtained a sample of 3,456 usable records with complete information about new ventures and founders’ background. The authors relied on the class of methods known as “proportional hazard models” to perform survival analyses.


Analyses show that spinoffs from surviving parents outlive other startups. Surprisingly, spinoffs from high-ranked positions have comparable hazard rates than other startups while spinoffs from low-ranked positions have lower hazard rates than other startups. Finally, industry-specific working experience has a curvilinear inverted U-shape effect on spinoffs’ survival.


The present study contributes to the debate on spinoffs’ survival and bears important ramifications into the relationship between knowledge inheritance and entrepreneurial dynamic capabilities. It is also helpful in informing public policies aimed at encouraging entrepreneurial activities in the form of new proprietorships.



Furlan, A. (2016), "Who lives longer? Startups vs spinoffs founded as proprietorships", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 416-435.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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