I am also Deputy Director for Research, Accreditations and Rankings.
I serve as Chief editor of Economia e Politica Industriale – Journal of Business and Industrial Economics and the Associate Editor of the Journal of Small Business Management.
I was the scientific coordinator of the FP7 VICO research project on “Financing entrepreneurial ventures in Europe: Impact on innovation, employment growth, and competitiveness”.
I am author (or co-author) of nine books and more than 80 peer reviewed publications in international journals. In particular, I have published in journals such as Science, the Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Research Policy, the Journal of Industrial Economics, the International Journal of Industrial Organization, the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Economics Letters, Industrial and Corporate Change, the Journal of Banking and Finance, Small Business Economics, the Journal of Small Bisiness Management.
Here is my CV
This study replicates Dushnitsky and Shaver (2009) and examines the conditions that facilitate inter-organizational relationships. We consider the role played by legal defenses in encouraging the formation of ties between new ventures and same-industry corporate venture capitalists, and we enrich our analysis by considering timing and social defenses, as suggested in the “swimming with sharks” literature. Whereas all prior findings have been based on data on U.S. new ventures, we assess the effectiveness of these defenses in a different institutional setting, i.e. the European venture capital market. Legal defenses in Europe are shown to be as effective as they are in the U.S., social defenses are effective only as a complement to legal defenses, and timing defenses are ineffective.
Using a new European Commission-sponsored longitudinal dataset – the VICO dataset – we assess the impact of independent (IVC) and corporate venture capital (CVC) investments on the economic performance of European high-tech entrepreneurial firms during the period 1992-2010. After controlling for potential sources of endogeneity and selection bias, our results indicate that both IVC and CVC investments boost portfolio firms' economic performance. These effects are mostly due to an increase in real sales value. Moreover, the dynamics of the impact of VC investments on firms’ overall economic performance and its components – real sales value, real fixed assets, and real labor costs – differs depending on the type of investor. Finally, we do not detect any impact related to the syndication of investments by both IVC and CVC investors.
The nascent crowdfunding literature has highlighted the existence of a self-reinforcing pattern whereby contributions received in the early days of a campaign accelerate its success. After discussing what sustains this pattern, we maintain that the internal social capital that proponents may develop inside the crowdfunding community provides crucial assistance in igniting a self-reinforcing mechanism. Results of an econometric analysis of a sample of 669 Kickstarter projects are consistent with this view. Moreover, the effect of internal social capital on the success of a campaign is fully mediated by the capital and backers collected in the campaign’s early days.
This paper investigates how far in space university knowledge goes to breed the creation of knowledge-intensive firms (KIFs), depending on the nature (either codified or tacit) and quality of this knowledge. We consider the impact of knowledge codified in academic patents and scientific publications and tacit knowledge embodied in university graduates on KIF creation in Italian provinces in 2010, while distinguishing between local university knowledge created by universities located in the same province and external university knowledge created by universities located outside the province. Our econometric estimates indicate that the positive effects of scientific publications and university graduates are confined within the boundaries of the province in which universities are located. Conversely, the creation of new KIFs in a focal province is positively affected by both local and external university knowledge codified in academic patents, even though the positive effect of this external knowledge rapidly diminishes with geographic distance. Furthermore, the above effects are confined to high-quality universities; low-quality universities have little effect on KIF creation.
This paper aims to disentangle the mechanisms through which technological similarity between acquiring and acquired firms influences innovation in horizontal acquisitions. We develop a theoretical model that links technological similarity to: (i) two key aspects of post-acquisition reorganization of acquired R&D operations – the rationalization of the R&D operations and the replacement of the R&D top manager, and (ii) two intermediate effects that are closely associated with the post-acquisition innovation performance of the combined firm – improvements in R&D productivity and disruptions in R&D personnel. We rely on PLS techniques to test our theoretical model using detailed information on 31 horizontal acquisitions in high- and medium-tech industries. Our results indicate that in horizontal acquisitions, technological similarity negatively affects post-acquisition innovation performance and that this negative effect is not mediated by the reorganization of the acquired R&D operations. However, replacing the acquired firm's R&D top manager leads to R&D productivity improvements that positively affect innovation performance.
This work analyses the effect of public subsidies on firms’ investments and investment–cash flow sensitivity in a longitudinal sample of 288 Italian unlisted non-venture capital backed owner-managed new-technology-based firms (NTBFs), observed over a 15-year period from 1994 to 2008. Seventy five of these firms received one or more public subsidies in the observation period. We use an error correction model (ECM) specification and system generalised method of moment (GMM) techniques that take into account the endogeneity of public subsidies. First, we find that the investments of small NTBFs are sensitive to internal cash flows, while those of large NTBFs are not. Receipt of public subsidies by small NTBFs results in an increased investment rate and a reduced investment–cash flow sensitivity, in the immediately following year. We interpret these results as an indication of the relaxation of financial constraints. Moreover, while the increase in the investment rate does not persist in the long run, the dependence of investments on cash flow remains negligible after receipt of the first public subsidy. These results support the view that public subsidies can help small NTBFs in persistently removing the financial constraints that bind their investment activity.
Why do some entrepreneurial ventures rapidly switch from flat organizations composed of owner-managers and line workers to deeper organizations that also include a middle-management level? The aim of this paper is to investigate this issue and to test the predictions of different streams of the theoretical economic literature on organizational design. We use the estimates of survival data analysis models to examine the determinants of the addition of a middle-management level to the corporate hierarchy of a large sample of Italian high-tech entrepreneurial ventures. The econometric results lend support to the view proposed by the “information processing” stream that the information overload problems engendered by a highly competitive and unpredictable business environment are key drivers of the creation of a middle-management level. Moreover, in accordance with the “knowledge hierarchy” literature, the greater the human capital of firms’ owner-managers, the more likely the appointment of a middle manager. Conversely, we fail to provide evidence consistent with theoretical predictions inspired by the “decentralization of incentives” stream. Lastly, transaction costs and adverse selection problems in the managerial labour market are found to have a large negative effect on the likelihood of the appointment of middle managers.
This paper advances our comprehension of how firms organise to in-source technical knowledge from communities of users and developers. Specifically, the paper focuses on software firms doing business with the Open Source Software (OSS) community (OSS firms). It explores the antecedents of the adoption by OSS firms of a quite popular organisational practice: authorising firm programmers to contribute autonomously during their working hours to OSS projects to which their employers do not contribute on their own behalf. We argue that this practice serves the purpose of scouting the OSS community for new knowledge by leveraging the individual-level absorptive abilities of programmers. Accordingly, we expect the likelihood of its adoption is higher for the OSS firms that: i) must rely on the individual-level abilities of their programmers to acquire and assimilate new knowledge from the OSS community as they have smaller firm-level potential absorptive capacity; ii) are able to transform and exploit effectively the new knowledge in-sourced by their programmers as they have greater firm-level realised absorptive capacity. The econometric results based on data from 293 European OSS firms provide support to our hypotheses.
This paper argues that academic high-tech start-ups exhibit peculiar “genetic characteristics” that leave an enduring imprint on firm development. We formulate a series of hypotheses on the effects of such genetic characteristics on the post-entry strategies that academic high-tech start-ups adopt to enlarge their initial competence endowments. In the empirical section, we use matched-pair statistical techniques and run several regressions to test the theoretical hypotheses. Our findings contribute to the literature on the antecedents of the strategies adopted by academic high-tech start-ups. They also allow us to derive implications for academic entrepreneurs, university managers and policy makers.
The financial and innovation literature generally claims that venture capital (VC) investments spur the growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). However, it has proved difficult so far to separate the “treatment” effect of the VC investment from the “selection” effect attributable to the ability of the VC investor to screen high growth NTBFs. The aim of this work is to test whether VC investments have a positive treatment effect on the growth of employment and sales of NTBFs. For this purpose we consider a 10-year longitudinal data set for 538 Italian NTBFs, most of which are privately held. The sample includes both VC-backed and non-VC-backed firms. We estimate Gibrat-law-type dynamic panel-data models augmented with time-varying variables that capture the VC status of firms. To control for the endogeneity of VC investments we use several GMM estimators. The econometric results strongly support the view that VC investments positively influence firm growth. The treatment effect of VC investments is of large economic magnitude, especially on growth of employment. Most of it is obtained immediately after the first round of VC finance. Conversely, the selection effect of VC appears to be negligible in the Italian context.
In this paper, we jointly analyze the effects of the human capital of founders and access to venture capital (VC) financing on the growth of 439 Italian new technology-based firms (NTBFs). We rely on econometric models that control for survivorship bias and the endogeneity of VC financing. As to non-VC-backed firms, the competence-based argument that the capabilities of NTBFs coincide with founders' skills is confirmed. Nonetheless, once a NTBF obtains VC, this coincidence vanishes, pointing to the “coach” function performed by VC investors. Conversely, the view that sees the “scout” function as the main task performed by VC investors is not supported.
Why do new technology-based firms (NTBFs) cooperate? Starting from Teece's [Teece, D.J., 1986. Profiting from technological innovation: implications for integration, collaboration, licensing, and public policy. Research Policy 15, 285–305] conceptual framework and taking advantage of subsequent literature on alliance formation in the resource and competence-based tradition and in the social structure perspective, we derive an empirical model that aims at highlighting the inducements and obstacles that these firms face in alliance formation according to firm-specific characteristics and the nature of the alliance. In particular, a distinction is made between exploitative commercial alliances and explorative technological alliances. The econometric estimates, based on a large sample of Italian young high-tech firms that are observed from 1994 to 2003, provide strong evidence supporting two key intuitions of Teece's work. First, the “combination of specialized complementary assets” appears to be a key driver of the formation of exploitative commercial alliances by NTBFs. More specifically, patent holding affects positively the likelihood to establish commercial alliances, but this propensity is found to rapidly decrease with firm size, suggesting that as long as NTBFs become larger and possess specialized commercial assets their urge for commercial alliances diminishes. Second, following the parallelism set forth by Teece between search for alliance partners and access to external financing, the analysis indicates that potentially beneficial alliances may not take place because of the high transaction costs faced by smaller NTBFs. In this respect, our results clearly support the view that sponsor institutions as public research organizations, venture and corporate venture capitalists may sensibly reduce these costs and that their role crucially depends on both the identity of the sponsor and the type of alliance.
Research-based spin-offs (RBSOs) have become an important aspect of the technology transfer process. Emanating from what is conventionally a non-commercial environment, RBSOs pose major challenges if they are to realise their potential to meet the objectives of their founders and the parent research organisations (PROs) from which they emerge. An important issue is to understand the heterogeneity of RBSOs. This paper reviews the literature on RBSO typologies to develop a taxonomy of RBSOs. We identify common themes in relation to these typologies in relation to (1) spin-off creation and (2) spin-off development. The dimensions that differentiate between firms are the type of resources, the business model and the institutional link. We identify gaps in current typologies in order to propose avenues for future conceptual and empirical research.
In this paper, we analyze empirically the relation between the growth of new technology-based firms and the human capital of founders, with the aim of teasing out the “wealth” and “capability” effects of human capital. For this purpose, we take advantage of a new data set relating to a sample composed of 506 Italian young firms that operate in high-tech industries in both manufacturing and services. In accordance with competence-based theories, the econometric estimates show that the nature of the education and of the prior work experience of founders exerts a key influence on growth. In fact, founders’ years of university education in economic and managerial fields and to a lesser extent in scientific and technical fields positively affect growth while education in other fields does not. Similarly prior work experience in the same industry of the new firm is positively associated with growth while prior work experience in other industries is not. Furthermore, it is the technical work experience of founders as opposed to their commercial work experience that determines growth. The fact that within the founding team there are individuals with prior entrepreneurial experiences also results in superior growth. Lastly, we provide evidence that there are synergistic gains from the combination of the complementary capabilities of founders relating to (i) economic-managerial and scientific-technical education and (ii) technical and commercial industry-specific work experiences. We conclude that the human capital of founders of new technology-based firms is not just a proxy for personal wealth.
Using information on 31 in-depth cases of individual M&A deals, we show that technological and market-relatedness between M&A partners distinctly affects the inputs, outputs, performance and organisational structure of the R&D process. While the findings in the literature on the effect of M&A on R&D are quite mixed, we can sharpen results by analysing data at the level of the R&D process. This comes at the price of a smaller sample and more qualitative data, for which caution in the interpretation is necessary. M&A between partners with ex-ante complementary technologies result in more active R&D performers after the M&A. In sharp contrast, when merged entities are technologically substitutive, they significantly decrease their R&D level after the M&A. Moreover, R&D efficiency increases more prominently when merged entities are technologically complementary than when they are substitutive. These two findings on the R&D level and the performance support the scope economy effect of M&A, on the one hand, and reject the scale economy effect of M&A, on the other. Next, for cases in which partners were active in the same technological fields before the M&A, the reduction of R&D is more prominent, while the R&D efficiency gain is smaller if merged entities were rivals in the product market prior to their merger than if they were non-rival. This suggests that rival firms reap little technology gains from mergers.
This paper tests the predictions of economic theory on the determinants of the allocation of decision-making power through the estimates of ordered probit models with random effects. Our findings show that the complexity of plants' operations and organization, the characteristics of the communication technologies in use, the ownership status of plants and the product mix of their parent companies figure prominently in explaining whether authority is delegated to the plant manager or not. In addition, the nature of the decision under consideration turns out to affect the allocation of authority.
This paper analyzes factors that influence firms' choice of the organizational form of strategic alliances. I consider arguments suggested by both the contractual and the competence perspectives. In order to distinguish empirically between them, I devote special attention to the role played by the similarity of partner firms' technological specialization. In the empirical section I consider a sample composed of 271 equity joint ventures, non-equity bilateral and unilateral agreements established between each other in the period 1983–86 by 67 North American, European, and Japanese enterprises from the world's largest firms in information technology industries. I examine the effects on the choice of alliance form of a measure of firms' technological proximity based on patents count, while controlling for other variables that are usually considered in the empirical literature. The estimates of binomial and multinomial logit models support the competence-based argument that in technological alliances divergence in partners' technological specialization results in a higher propensity to use equity forms. Overall, the findings suggest that both the contractual and competence perspectives provide valuable complementary insights into the determinants of alliance form.