# 14-055/V (2014-05-08)

Michael S. Dahl, Aalborg University, Denmark; Mirjam van Praag, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; Peter Thompson, Emory University, United States
Entrepreneurship, motives, performance, couples, co-entrepreneurship.
JEL codes:
J12, L26

We study possible motivations for co-entrepenurial couples to start up a joint firm, using a sample of 1,069 Danish couples that established a joint enterprise between 2001
and 2010. We compare their pre-entry characteristics, firm performance and postdissolution private and financial outcomes with a selected set of comparable firms and
couples. We find evidence that couples often establish a business together because one spouse – most commonly the female – has limited outside opportunities in the labor
market. However, the financial benefits for each of the spouses, and especially the female, are larger in co-entrepreneurial firms, both during the life of the business and post-dissolution. The start-up of co-entrepreneurial firms seems therefore a sound investment
in the human capital of both spouses as well as in the reduction of income inequality in the household. We find no evidence of non-pecuniary benefits or costs of coentrepreneurship