Policy Seminars

Speaker: Christopher Liu
Harvard Business School
Topic: Trickle-Down Entrepreneurship
Date/Place/Time: Friday, November 14, 2008. 1:30pm to 3pm
UCLA Anderson Room C303
People select one another in professional relationships for a variety of reasons.  We hypothesize that individuals match to their associates along a set of prominent dimensions, and in so doing, expose themselves to many unanticipated social influences. To examine the inter-generational transmission of traits in the context of scientific mentorship, we collect a novel dataset tracking the training and professional activities of 500 prominent scientists.  We show that scientists-in-training choose their mentors along scientific dimensions, but subsequently adopt their prior advisor's commercial orientations.  We draw upon qualitative evidence in the form of oral histories, as well as the implementation of inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to estimate causal treatment effects.  Taken together, we propose an atypical model of structural influence whereby career paths are opened through prior professional relationships, but the dimensions by which we assess influence are neither deliberately formed nor the outcomes of standard assortative matching.  We propose that this model of structural influence may exemplify a common social dynamic.
Link to paper (if available):Click here for paper