Geography, Joint Choices and the Reproduction of Gender Inequality

Posted: March 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Comments Off on Geography, Joint Choices and the Reproduction of Gender Inequality

Olav Sorenson and Michael S. Dahl

We examine the extent to which the gender wage gap may depend on the fact that dual-earner couples must jointly choose a place to live and work. If couples systematically locate in places better suited for the advancement of the husband’s career than to the wife’s, those choices would then tend to depress the wages of married women relative to married men. Examining data from Denmark, our results suggest (i) that Danish couples weight men’s potential wage gains much more heavily than women’s in their decisions of whether to and where to move, (ii) that these intra-couple preferences may account for as much as 36% of the gender wage gap in Denmark, and (iii) that, ultimately, these differential weightings appear to reflect gender roles, to a large extent inherited from the wife’ parents. We therefore demonstrate that systematic gender inequality can emerge from unexpected places and processes.

American Sociological Review, 81(5), pp. 900-920.


The Who, Why and How of Spinoffs

Posted: September 16th, 2013 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Comments Off on The Who, Why and How of Spinoffs

Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson

Studies have consistently found that entrepreneurs who enter industries in which they have prior experience as employees perform better than others. We nevertheless know relatively little about what accounts for these differences. The presumed explanation has generally been that these entrepreneurs benefit from the knowledge that they gained in their former jobs. But they might also differ from other entrepreneurs on a variety of other dimensions: Preferential access to resources or differing motivations, for example, may account for their decisions to enter known industries instead of new ones. Combining novel data from a representative survey of entrepreneurs in Denmark with a matched employer- employee database of all residents in Denmark, we examined how entrepreneurs with prior industry experience differed from those without and the extent to which these differences could account for the performance premium associated with prior industry experience. We found that those with industry experience came from younger, smaller and more profitable firms, and that they recruited more experienced employees, worked harder and placed less value on having flexible hours. The recruitment of more experienced employees and the greater effort exerted appeared to account for at least some of the performance advantage associated with prior industry experience.

Industrial and Corporate Change (2014) 23(3) 661-688


In Sickness and in Wealth: Psychological and Sexual Costs of Income Comparison in Marriage

Posted: December 9th, 2012 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Comments Off on In Sickness and in Wealth: Psychological and Sexual Costs of Income Comparison in Marriage

Lamar Pierce, Michael S. Dahl and Jimmi Nielsen

As the percentage of wives outearning their husbands grows, the traditional social norm of the male breadwinner is challenged. The upward income comparison of the husband may cause psychological distress that affects both partners’ mental and physical health in ways that impact decisions on marriage, divorce, and careers. This paper studies this impact through sexual and mental health problems. Using wage and prescription medication data from Denmark, we implement a regression discontinuity design to show that men outearned by their wives are more likely to use erectile dysfunction (ED) medication than their male breadwinner counterparts, even when this inequality is small. Breadwinner wives suffer increased insomnia/anxiety medication usage, with similar effects for men. We find no effects for unmarried couples or for men who earned less than their fiancée prior to marriage. Our results suggest that social norms play important roles in dictating how individuals respond to upward social comparisons.

Out now in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(3), pp. 359-374.


Fatherhood and Managerial Style: How a Male CEO’s Children Affect the Wages of His Employees

Posted: July 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Comments Off on Fatherhood and Managerial Style: How a Male CEO’s Children Affect the Wages of His Employees

Michael S. Dahl, Cristian Dezsö, and David Gaddis Ross

Motivated by a growing literature in the social sciences suggesting that the transition to fatherhood has a profound effect on men’s values, we study how the wages of employees change after a male chief executive officer (CEO) has children, using comprehensive panel data on the employees, CEOs, and families of CEOs in all but the smallest Danish firms between 1996 and 2006. We find that (a) a male CEO generally pays his employees less generously after fathering a child, (b) the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than does the birth of a son and has a positive influence if the daughter is the CEO’s first, and (c) the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees and positively affected by the CEO’s first child of either gender. We also find that male CEOs pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially after fathering a son. These results are consistent with a desire by the CEO to husband more resources for his family after fathering a child and the psychological priming of the CEO’s generosity after the birth of his first daughter and specifically toward women after the birth of his first child of either gender.

Out now in Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(4), pp. 669-693 (2012)


Home Sweet Home: Entrepreneurs’ Location Choices and the Performance of Their Ventures – Out in print

Posted: June 17th, 2012 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, News, Research | Comments Off on Home Sweet Home: Entrepreneurs’ Location Choices and the Performance of Their Ventures – Out in print

Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson

Entrepreneurs, even more than employees, tend to locate in regions in which they have deep roots (“home” regions). Here, we examine the performance implications of these choices. Whereas one might expect entrepreneurs to perform better in these regions because of their richer endowments of regionally embedded social capital, they might also perform worse if their location choices rather reflect a preference for spending time with family and friends. We examine this question using comprehensive data on Danish start-ups. Ventures perform better—survive longer and generate greater annual profits and cash flows—when located in regions in which their founders have lived longer. This effect appears substantial, similar in size to the value of prior experience in the industry (i.e., to being a spin-off).

Management Science, June 2012, vol. 58 no. 6, pp. 1059-1071. 

Download here at Informs Online


Organizational Change and Employee Stress – Out now

Posted: February 15th, 2011 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Michael S. Dahl

This article analyzes the relationship between organizational change and employee health. It illuminates the potentially negative outcomes of change at the level of the employee. In addition, it relates to the ongoing debate over how employees react to and respond to organizational change. I hypothesize that change increases the risk of negative stress, and I test this hypothesis using a comprehensive panel data set of all stress-related medicine prescriptions for 92,860 employees working in 1,517 of the largest Danish organizations. The findings suggest that the risk of receiving stress-related medication increases significantly for employees at organizations that change, especially those that undergo broad simultaneous changes along several dimensions. Thus, organizational changes are associated with significant risks of employee health problems. These effects are further explored with respect to employees at different hierarchical levels as well as at firms of different sizes and from different sectors.

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The effects of becoming an entrepreneur on the use of psychotropics among entrepreneurs and their spouses

Posted: January 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Tags: , | Comments Off on The effects of becoming an entrepreneur on the use of psychotropics among entrepreneurs and their spouses

Michael S. Dahl, Jimmi Nielsen (Unit for Psychiatric Research, Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital, Aarhus University Hospital) and Ramin Mojtabai (Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Aims: Entering entrepreneurship (i.e. becoming an entrepreneur) is known to be a demanding activity with increased workload, financial uncertainty and increased levels of stress. However, there are no systematic studies on how entering entrepreneurship affects the people involved.

Methods: The authors investigated prescriptions of psychotropics for 6,221 first-time entrepreneurs from 2001—2004 and their 2,381 spouses in the first two years after becoming entrepreneurs in a matched case-control study using linked data from three Danish national registries: The Danish database for Labor Market Research, the Danish Entrepreneurship database and the Danish Prescription database.

Results: Entrepreneurs were more likely to fill prescriptions at pharmacies for sedatives/hypnotics (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.45 [95% CI: 1.26—1.66], p < .0001). However, they were less likely to fill prescriptions for antidepressants (AOR: 0.74 [95% CI: 0.59—0.92] p = 0.007). Spouses of these entrepreneurs were also more likely to fill prescriptions for sedatives/hypnotics (AOR: 1.36 [95% CI: 1.10—1.67], p = 0.005). No difference in prescription of antidepressants was found for spouses.

Conclusions: This study showed that there was a significant relation between entering entrepreneurship and receiving prescriptions for sedative/hypnotics both among the entrepreneurs themselves and their spouses, suggesting that entering entrepreneurship may be associated with increased stress for both the entrepreneurs and their families.

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The Devil Dwells in the Tails: A Quantile Regression Approach to Firm Growth – Out now

Posted: April 10th, 2010 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Tags: , , | Comments Off on The Devil Dwells in the Tails: A Quantile Regression Approach to Firm Growth – Out now

Toke Reichstein, Michael S. Dahl, Bernd Ebersberger and Morten B. Jensen

This paper explores the firm growth rate distribution in a Gibrat’s Law context. The aim is to provide an empirical exploration of the determinants of firm growth. The work is novel in two respects. First, rather than limiting the analysis to focus on the conditional mean growth level, we investigate the complete shape of the distribution. Second, we show that the differences in the firm growth rate process between large and small firms are highly circumstantial. That industry dynamics have a substantial influence on the relationship between firm size and firm growth. The data used includes more than 9000 Danish firms from manufacturing, services and construction. We provide robust evidence indicating that firm growth studies should be less obsessed with explaining means and instead look to other parts of the firm growth rate distribution.

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 219-231 (2010)

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Paper accepted for Social Forces

Posted: February 26th, 2010 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, News, Research | Comments Off on Paper accepted for Social Forces

My paper with Olav Sorenson on the migration of blue collar workers has been accepted for publication in Social Forces, one of the World’s leading sociology journals. We introduce a new method for estimating the financial value of social factors and show how the location choice of blue collar workers depend strongly on social factors and less on financial incentives.

Link to abstract, DOI link to paper


The Migration of Technical Workers – Out now

Posted: November 27th, 2009 | Filed under: Front, Journal Papers, Research | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Migration of Technical Workers – Out now

Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson

Using panel data on the Danish population, we estimated the revealed preferences of scientists and engineers for the places in which they choose to work. Our results indicate that these technical workers exhibit substantial sensitivity to differences in wages but that they have even stronger preferences for living close to family and friends. The magnitude of these preferences, moreover, suggests that the greater geographic mobility of scientists and engineers, relative to the population as a whole, stems from more pronounced variation across regions in the wages that they can expect. These results remain robust to estimation on a sample of individuals who must select new places of work for reasons unrelated to their preferences—those who had been employed at establishments that discontinued operations.

Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson (2010) “The migration of technical workers”,Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 67 (1), pp. 33-45 [DOI Link]