The age-effect of financial indicators as buffers against the liability of newness

This paper builds on the liabilities of newness literature to suggest that accounting information is important for new firms. Using a sample of over 30,000 companies followed during their first 7†years of existence, we find evidence that financial indicators mitigate the liability of newness and that this buffering effect is stronger the younger the organization. These results represent three primary contributions to the literature. First, our conceptualization of accounting measures as indicators of external (creditworthiness enhancing legitimacy) as well as internal (targets for management) buffers to the liabilities of newness provides a novel way of viewing these constructs and explains why they are important to new firms despite their uncertainty and opacity. Second, we theoretically justify and empirically validate that these constructs are more important the younger the new firm is, which runs counter to the common wisdom of these constructs in the entrepreneurship literature. Third, we identify buffers against failure for new firms that are generalizable across industries.

Journal or Publication:
Journal of Business Venturing
Johan Wiklund
Thomas Baker
Shepherd Dhliwayo
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