Institute for Economic and Social Research

Seminar | Tom Schmitz, Bocconi University


Time: May 16 (Mon.), 10:00 – 11:30 am (Beijing Time)

Title:  The Effects of Startup Acquisitions on Innovation and Economic Growth

About the Speaker:

Tom Schmitz received his PhD from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in 2015. He has been an Assistant Professor of Economics at Bocconi University, Milan, between 2015 and 2022, and will join Queen Mary University of London as a Senior Lecturer in Economics in September 2022. His research has been published, among others, in the American Economic Review and in the Journal of the European Economic Association.


Acquisitions of startups by large incumbents have conflicting effects on aggregate innovation and growth. On the one hand, acquisitions provide an incentive for startup creation, and are a way to transfer ideas to more efficient users. On the other hand, incumbents might acquire some startups just to “kill” their ideas, and acquisitions can erode incumbents’ innovation incentives. Our paper aims to assess the net effect of these forces. To do so, we build an endogenous growth model with heterogeneous firms and acquisitions, and calibrate its parameters by matching micro-level evidence on startup acquisitions and patenting. Our calibrated model implies that acquisitions raise the startup rate, but lower incumbents’ own innovation as well as the percentage of implemented startup ideas. Quantitatively, the negative forces are slightly stronger: a startup acquisition ban would increase growth by 0.03 percentage points per year.



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