| Lasse Lien |
Here is a link to a very nice paper in the somewhat morbid empirical tradition of using death as a natural experiment. Hans K. Hvide looks at the value of the founder to a newly established firm by examining the performance effects of founder death (or the death of a member of the founding team). Using several empirical tests and an impressive battery of robustness checks, he concludes that the negative impact of founder death is almost unnoticeable on all the classic performance variables. Apparently the importance of the founder is as a discoverer of opportunities and an initiator. As a manger the founder appears to be quite substitutable (on average).