"Can Equity Crowdfunding Mitigate the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship?"
The gender gap in entrepreneurship is well-documented. Firms founded by females raise significantly less start-up capital, which hurts their chances of success. There is empirical evidence that the gap can be partially explained by factors in the financial industry and by female entrepreneurs' preferences for particular types of financing. A new method of acquiring startup capital, equity crowdfunding, has the potential to lower this gender gap by opening access to a broader variety of investors. Using a novel dataset of startups and their funding sources compiled from CrunchBase API, I analyze whether the legalization of general solicitation (public advertising of raising capital) and equity crowdfunding through Title II of the JOBS Act in 2013 had an impact on female entrepreneurship. I argue that these changes to the entrepreneurial financing market had a larger impact on females due to access to a larger variety of investors and changes to requirements in relationships between investors and entrepreneurs. Estimates from a triple difference-in-differences model using the variation in competition in the traditional banking sector indicate that Title II increased aggregate funding on average by 20% more for female entrepreneurs. [Please email for latest draft.]
"Estimating the Impact of Local Conditions during the Great Depression on Asset Allocation in Adulthood"
A growing literature in economics explores the relationship between personal experiences with the business cycle and belief/preference formation. There exists substantial evidence using national variation in business cycles that personal experiences hold substantial weight in decision-making. However, the use of national aggregates limits researchers to the use of variation in decisions across birth-cohorts. Using state-level personal income for the majority of the 20th century, I investigate whether individual investment decisions are altered by sub-national economic fluctuations. Along with providing evidence that preferences/beliefs about investment begin to form in late childhood, my results suggest that children who grew up in states with lower average personal income invest less in risky assets throughout their lives, invest more in property, and are less likely to be self employed.
Research in Progress
"Returns to Entrepreneurial Experience over the Business Cycle"
This project focuses on how serial entrepreneurs perform relative to first-time entrepreneurs. In particular, I am interested in the returns to previous entrepreneurial experience at different points in the business cycle. Do returns to entrepreneurship experience change when a founder is exposed to either positive or negative macroeconomic shocks? I consider two different ways through which entrepreneurial experience influences firm outcomes: through access to resources and through business strategies. I also investigate the role that previous experience has on firm strategy under different macroeconomic conditions. Do seasoned entrepreneurs pursue different funding strategies during boom times vs. recession times? For example, a more experienced entrepreneur may pursue external funding more often during a recession because they expect that they will require more capital to ensure growth. This is because a new firm may need to market its product more to profit during a recession. The Kauffman Foundation has sponsored my access to the Data Enclave version of the Kauffman Firm Survey for this project. I check the robustness of these results with data from the CrunchBase API, which is an online database of startups and their funding sources.
"Estimating the Long Term Impacts of Participation in the Civilian Conservation Corps" (with Price Fishback)
The Great Depression was the most severe economic shock in American history and considerably transformed the lives of Americans in both the 1930s and 1940s. The United States faced an unemployment rate of 25% in the height of the Depression, which meant many were unemployed and experienced harsh living conditions. In order to help those who were hit by the downturn, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a `New Deal' for the American people. The New Deal was a series of programs designed to provide relief for the poor, recovery of the economy to normal levels, and reform so that another depression would be unlikely. This project seeks to analyze the impacts of one of the New Deal employment programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps, henceforth CCC. This study is the first to analyze long-run impacts of a large-scale unemployment relief program. The project will address the questions: Did the CCC influence migration across the country? Did participation in the CCC improve participant's subsequent careers? Were participants able to achieve more than they would have without the CCC?