Publications

2016
Goldfarb B, King A. Scientific Apophenia in Strategic Management Research: Significance Tests and Mistaken Inference. Strategic Management Journal [Internet]. 2016;37 (1) :167-176. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article uses distributional matching and posterior predictive checks to estimate the extent of false and inflated findings in empirical research on strategic management. Based on a sample of 300 papers in top outlets for research on strategic management, we estimate that if each study were repeated, 24–40 percent of significant coefficients would become insignificant at the five percent level. Our best guess is that for about half of these, the true coefficient is very close to 0. The remaining coefficients are likely directionally correct but inflated in magnitude. We offer several practical individual and field level suggestions for reducing scientific apophenia, that is, our tendency to find and publish evidence of order where none exists.

2013
Goldfarb BD, Hoberg G, Kirsch D, Triantis AJ. Are angels different? An analysis of early venture financing. An Analysis of Early Venture Financing (November 4, 2013). Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS. 2013 :06–072.
2012
Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Shen A. Finance of New industries. In: Cumming D The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurial Finance. Oxford University Press ; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

How are new industries financed? Specifically, for industries pioneered by entrepreneurial firms, where do entrepreneurs acquire the initial resources to start and grow their firms? This article reviews the literature on the role of finance in the emergence of new industries. It begins with a brief review of the central problems of finance of the high-risk, high-growth ventures that often play an important role during the emergence of new industries. It then presents several mini-case studies on new industries. It explores the ways that public markets and, more recently, venture capital limited partnerships have altered the industry emergence process, and thereby evaluates the literature's view of the role of these institutional arrangements.

Goldfarb B. John Quiggin: Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us. Administrative Science Quarterly. 2012;57 :156–158.
2010
Seo M-G, Goldfarb B, Barrett LF. Affect and the framing effect within individuals over time: Risk taking in a dynamic investment simulation. Academy of Management Journal. 2010;53 :411–431.
2009
Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Gera A. Form or Substance? The Role of Business Plans in Venture Capital Funding. Strategic Management Journal [Internet]. 2009;30 :487-515. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We explore a well-known instance of fast decision making under high uncertainty, venture capital (VC) opportunity screening. We analyze a sample of 722 funding requests submitted to an American VC firm and evaluate the influence of the form of the submission and content of business planning documents on VC funding decisions. We improve on prior literature by a) using a large sample of known representativeness, b) relating request characteristics to actual VC decisions, and c) developing an inferential logic that takes account of the multiple sources of information to which VCs have access. We find that the presence of planning documents and some information contained therein are weakly associated with VC funding decisions. Based on our inferential strategy, we find that this information is learned independently of its inclusion in the business planning documents.

Goldfarb B, Marschke G, Smith A. Scholarship and Inventive Activity in the University: Complements or Substitutes. Economics of Innovation and New Technology [Internet]. 2009;18 (8) :743-756. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Universities are engaging in more licensing and patenting activities than ever before, and the amount of research funded by industry is increasing. Academics’ commercialization activities may inhibit traditional academic scholarship. If the output of such scholarship is an important input into technological innovation and economic growth, then such an inhibition would be cause for concern. We introduce new instruments and techniques and demonstrate them using a novel panel dataset of academic electrical engineers from Stanford University. We find no evidence that engaging in inventive activity reduces the quantity of scientific output and some evidence that it increases its quality.

2008
Dechenaux E, Goldfarb B, Shane S, Thursby M. Appropriability and commercialization: Evidence from MIT inventions. Management Science. 2008;54 :893–906.
Goldfarb B. The effect of government contracting on academic research: Does the source of funding affect scientific output?. Research Policy [Internet]. 2008;37 :41 - 58. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The growing share of university research funded by industry has sparked concerns that academics will sacrifice traditional scholarly activities to pursue commercial goals. To investigate this concern, I examine the influence of an applied sponsor and consider limitations of the grant funding mechanism. A novel dataset tracks the careers of academic engineers and their relationships with this sponsor. I find that (a) researchers who maintain a relationship with the directed sponsor experience a decrease in publications implying that academics’ careers may be a function of the type of funding received, not only talent; (b) academic merit does not necessarily serve as a funding criterion for sponsors; and (c) citation and publication measures of academic output are often not useful proxies for short-term commercial or social value.
Goldfarb B, Kirsch D. Small Ideas, Big Ideas, Bad Ideas, Good Ideas: “Get Big Fast” and Dot Com Venture Creation. In: The Internet and American Business . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press ; 2008. Pre-Publication Version
Laseter T, Kirsch D, Goldfarb B. Lessons of the last bubble. Available at: www. strategy-business. com/media/file/sb46\_07102. pdf. Accessed April. 2008;29.
2007
Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Miller DA. Was there too little entry during the Dot Com Era?. Journal of Financial Economics. 2007;86 :100–144.
2006
Dew N, Goldfarb B, Sarasvathy S. Optimal inertia: when organizations should. Adv Strateg Manag. 2006;23 :73–99.
2005
Goldfarb BD, Pfarrer MD, Kirsch D. Searching for ghosts: business survival, unmeasured entrepreneurial activity and private equity investment in the dot-com era. Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS. 2005 :06–027.
Goldfarb B. Diffusion of general-purpose technologies: understanding patterns in the electrification of US Manufacturing 1880–1930. Industrial and Corporate Change [Internet]. 2005;14 :745-773. Publisher's VersionAbstract
I examine the diffusion of the electric motor between 1880 and 1930. I find that long lag times are determined by the degree of technical difficulty in application. After solutions became available, electrification generally proceeded rapidly. To make this claim, I explore three industries: urban transit, printing and paper making. I identify points at which viable electric solutions to particular problems were found and examine adoption patterns both before and after these events. The explanation contrasts with common demand-side explanations such as costly user-adaptation or information diffusion, and imposes conditions on the application of standard supply side models. The results are particularly important when examining the diffusion of broadly defined technological categories, such as general-purpose technologies. In the history of diffusion of many innovations, one cannot help being struck by two characteristics of the diffusion process: its apparent overall slowness on the one hand, and the wide variations in the rates of acceptance of different inventions, on the other. (Rosenberg, 1972: 191)