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International Review of Entrepreneurship

The Long–Run Performance of Born Globals in Computing: The Role of Digital Platforms

Journal Article
Ferguson, Shon and Magnus Henrekson (2019). “The Long–Run Performance of Born Globals in Computing: The Role of Digital Platforms”. International Review of Entrepreneurship 17(3), 257–280.

Shon Ferguson, Magnus Henrekson

Using data on all Swedish startups in the computing sector founded 2007–2015, we find a systematic positive relationship between the propensity of a computing firm to reach customers globally via digital platforms and its long-run employment growth relative to domestic-oriented computing firms. We also find positive, yet weaker, evidence that born globals in computing grow faster in terms of sales or value added. Our analysis also indicates that very few computing firms fit the profile of born globals; only 15% of the 250 largest computing employers in 2015 were born globals. Moreover, only 1.5% of computing startups founded 2007–2015 were computer game publishers, which arguably have the highest propensity to be born global. Thus, although we find positive born global effects at the firm level, policymakers must be aware that encouraging more born globals need not necessarily lead to large benefits for the overall economy.