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Competition, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation


What kind of market structure promotes innovation and growth? This dissertation delves into the relationship between market power, innovation, and returns. On one hand, competition exerts downward pressure on costs and provides incentives for efficient organization of production. On the other, the Schumpeterian hypothesis suggests that monopolist rents are necessary to encourage technological disruption. I study the effects of competition in two distinct settings: the acquisition of early-staged high-growth startups and horizontal mergers between public companies.

In Chapter 1, Catering Innovation: Entrepreneurship and the Acquisition Market, I study the role of the financial market of acquisitions on an inventor's decision to begin a new venture and his or her subsequent innovation. After documenting its increasing importance as the dominant exit path for entrepreneurs, I test a novel catering theory of innovation: Does the market structure of potential acquirers have a measurable impact on inventors' start-up decisions? I construct a new dataset of early stage start-ups using the uniquely broad coverage of CrunchBase and VentureXpert data. I disambiguate and match the resulting data to employment data from LinkedIn and to the entire universe of patent data. Using the prior citation history of entrepreneurs for exogenous variation, I construct a formal proxy variable and employ the Heckman selection model to establish causality. I find that a one standard deviation increase in acquirer market concentration decreases the inventor's propensity to become an entrepreneur by 4%. This first result suggests that fragmented markets are appealing entry markets. My main finding is that a one standard deviation increase in acquirer concentration and market size increases the quality of patents, as measured by citations per patent, and the catering of entrepreneurs, as measured by technological overlap with potential acquirers. The magnitudes suggest that 5-16% of entrepreneurial innovation can be attributed to the influence of acquisition markets, particularly in the information technology and biotechnology industries.

In Chapter 2, Market Power in Mergers and Acquisitions, I explore the value implications of market power changes in public mergers and acquisitions. Using a large sample of horizontal mergers from 1980 to 2012, I provide evidence that a significant portion of merger announcement returns are explained by changes in market power resulting from the merger. I find that a 0.1 expected increase in product market concentration leads to a 2.3% increase in cumulative abnormal returns over a three day period. In the long-run, mergers with high expected changes in market power revert to pre-announcement levels. My results suggest the "announcement effect" in M&A is due to misplaced market power expectations by investors.

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