Abstract

Using a panel of U.S. metropolitan areas, we find that increases in the supply of venture capital positively affect firm starts, employment, and aggregate income. Our results remain robust to a variety of specifications, including ones that address endogeneity. The estimated magnitudes imply that venture capital stimulates the creation of more firms than it funds, which appears consistent with two mechanisms: First, would-be entrepreneurs anticipating financing needs more likely start firms when the supply of capital expands. Second, funded companies may transfer know-how to their employees, thereby enabling spin-offs, and may encourage others to become entrepreneurs through demonstration effects.

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