Better Flee From Freedom? The Effects of Structured Accountability on New Venture Performance


Policies to promote entrepreneurial activity have received much attention in recent years. However, there is still much to learn about which policies actually work, and what are the exact mechanisms by which they do. We explore the performance effects of structured accountability, a policy that encourages founders to periodically express their strategic plans and progress in front of others. We conduct a randomized controlled trial on a balanced sample of 361 business accelerator startups, quantify the subsequent performance of startups using standard measures, and conduct in-depth interviews to a randomly selected subsample. Prior literature has suggested that the effects of structured accountability vary across the dimension of task uncertainty. Our results shed light on a new dimension: structured accountability can aid or harm startups as a function of the founder’s level of formal education


Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe, Edgar Kausel, and Michael Leatherbee