IZA DP No. 8186: Entrepreneurial Couples
We study possible motivations for co-entrepreneurial couples to start up a joint firm, using a sample of 1,069 Danish couples that established a joint enterprise between 2001 and 2010. We compare their pre-entry characteristics, firm performance and post-dissolution private and financial outcomes with a selected set of comparable firms and couples. We find evidence that couples often establish a business together because one spouse – most commonly the female – has limited outside opportunities in the labor market. However, the financial benefits for each of the spouses, and especially the female, are larger in co-entrepreneurial firms, both during the life of the business and post-dissolution. The start-up of co-entrepreneurial firms seems therefore a sound in-vestment in the human capital of both spouses as well as in the reduction of income inequality in the household. We find no evidence of non-pecuniary benefits or costs of co-entrepreneurship.