Brent Goldfarb Directory Page

Brent Goldfarb

Brent Goldfarb

Dean’s Professor of Entrepreneurship

Academic Director, Dingman Center

PhD, Stanford University


4548 Van Munching Hall

Dr. Brent Goldfarb is Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the M&O Department at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Goldfarb's research focuses on how the production and exchange of technology differs from more traditional economic goods, with a focus on the implications on the role of startups in the economy. He focuses on such questions as how do markets and employer policies affect incentives to discover new commercially valuable technologies and when is it best to commercialize them through new technology-based firms? Why do radical technologies appear to be the domain of startups? And how big was the boom? Copies of Dr. Goldfarb's publications and working papers have been downloaded over 1200 times.

Primary Research Areas

  • Technological Entrepreneurship
  • Technological Change & Policy
  • Applied Econometrics
  • Industrial Organization
  • Economic & Business History
  • Science Policy

SSRN Working Papers      Google Scholar Research Website

Myeong-Gu Seo, Brent Goldfarb and Lisa Feldman, “Affect and the Framing Effect: Risk Taking in a Dynamic Investment Game”, forthcoming, Academy Management Journal.

Brent Goldfarb, Gerald Marschke and Amy Smith, “Scholarship and Inventive Activity in the University: Complements or Substitutes”, (2009), Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 18(8):743-756.

David Kirsch, Brent Goldfarb and Azi Gera, “Form or Substance? The Role of Business Plans in Venture Capital Funding”, (2009) Strategic Management Journal 30: 487–515.

Emmanuel Dechenaux, Brent Goldfarb, Scott Shane and Marie Thursby “Appropriability and the Commercialization of Innovation: Evidence from MIT Inventions”, (2008) Management Science 54(5), 893-906.

Brent Goldfarb, “The Effect of Government Contracting on Academic Research: Does the Source of Funding Affect Scientific Output?” (2008) Research Policy 37(1), 41-58.

Brent Goldfarb, David Kirsch and David Miller, “Was there too Little Entry in the Dot Com Era?” (2007), Journal of Financial Economics 86(1), 100-144.

Brent Goldfarb, “Diffusion of General Purpose Technologies: Understanding Patterns in the Electrification of US Manufacturing 1880-1930” (2005) Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(5) 745-773.

Brent Goldfarb and Magnus Henrekson, “Bottom-Up vs. Top-Down Policies towards the Commercialization of University Intellectual Property” (2003) Research Policy 32(4) 639-658.

B.Goldfarb and M. Henrekson. "Botton-Up vs. Top-Down Policies towards the Commercialization of University Intellectual Property" Research Policy, (forthcoming)

B. Goldfarb. "The Effect of Government Contracting on Academic Research: An Empirical Analysis of Reputation in Research Contracting" Discussion Paper No. 00.24, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research


Goldfarb B, Zavyalova A, Pillai S. Goldfarb, Brent, Anastasiya Zavyalova, and Sandeep Pillai. "Did Victories in Certification Contests Affect the Survival of Organizations in the American Automobile Industry during 1895-1912? A Replication Study.". Strategic Management Journal [Internet]. 2018;39 (8) :2335-61. Publisher's Version


Research summary: We successfully replicate the highly influential study: "The social construction of reputation…,"(Rao, 1994) which reports that cumulative victories in certification contests are negatively associated with firm failure. The replication is robust to the inclusion of additional controls. As in the original, tests of whether the theory is most powerful under higher uncertainty are not supported. Further, placing second, third, or merely participating in races also negatively predicts firm failure, and there is insufficient information in the data to tease out the importance of these predictors versus race victories. We discuss the assumptions under which the evidence can be interpreted as supportive of a more general argument of "loose coupling", where affiliation with certification contests reduces firm failure.

Managerial summary: We successfully replicate a study that related victories in races to the survival of early automobile firms. This result was interpreted as evidence that rank‐order certification contests legitimized firms and led to survival. We then demonstrate that there is insufficient information to tease out the relative importance of victories, as opposed to placing second, third, or merely participating in predicting survival. Our result is consistent with an argument that affiliation with certification contests, not only winning them, increases a firm's chances of survival. It is also consistent with an argument that firms with better quality automobiles won races and survived. An implication of our work is that there is insufficient evidence to determine if firms in new industries should expend finite resources on participation in certification contests or improvement of product quality.

Corredoira RA, Goldfarb B, Shi Y. Corredoira, Rafael A., Brent D. Goldfarb, and Yuan Shi. "Federal Funding and the Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity." Research Policy 49, no. 9 (2018): 1777–1800. Research Policy [Internet]. 2018;49 (9) :1777-18000. Publisher's Version

Goldfarb B, King AA, Simcoe TS. Heritability of trust and distrust remains unknown". Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS) [Internet]. 2018;115 (10) :E2149–50.


Goldfarb B, King A. Scientific Apophenia in Strategic Management Research: Significance Tests and Mistaken Inference. Strategic Management Journal [Internet]. 2016;37 (1) :167-176. Publisher's Version


This article uses distributional matching and posterior predictive checks to estimate the extent of false and inflated findings in empirical research on strategic management. Based on a sample of 300 papers in top outlets for research on strategic management, we estimate that if each study were repeated, 24–40 percent of significant coefficients would become insignificant at the five percent level. Our best guess is that for about half of these, the true coefficient is very close to 0. The remaining coefficients are likely directionally correct but inflated in magnitude. We offer several practical individual and field level suggestions for reducing scientific apophenia, that is, our tendency to find and publish evidence of order where none exists.


Goldfarb BD, Hoberg G, Kirsch D, Triantis AJ. Are angels different? An analysis of early venture financing. An Analysis of Early Venture Financing (November 4, 2013). Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS. 2013 :06–072.


Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Shen A. Finance of New industries. In: Cumming D The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurial Finance. Oxford University Press ; 2012.


How are new industries financed? Specifically, for industries pioneered by entrepreneurial firms, where do entrepreneurs acquire the initial resources to start and grow their firms? This article reviews the literature on the role of finance in the emergence of new industries. It begins with a brief review of the central problems of finance of the high-risk, high-growth ventures that often play an important role during the emergence of new industries. It then presents several mini-case studies on new industries. It explores the ways that public markets and, more recently, venture capital limited partnerships have altered the industry emergence process, and thereby evaluates the literature's view of the role of these institutional arrangements.

Goldfarb B. John Quiggin: Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us. Administrative Science Quarterly. 2012;57 :156–158.


Goldfarb B. Review of Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth. By Richard G. Lipsey, Kenneth I. Carlaw, and Clifford T. Bekar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. The Journal of Economic History. 2011;71 :820–823.


Seo M-G, Goldfarb B, Barrett LF. Affect and the framing effect within individuals over time: Risk taking in a dynamic investment simulation. Academy of Management Journal. 2010;53 :411–431.


Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Gera A. Form or Substance? The Role of Business Plans in Venture Capital Funding. Strategic Management Journal [Internet]. 2009;30 :487-515. Publisher's Version


We explore a well-known instance of fast decision making under high uncertainty, venture capital (VC) opportunity screening. We analyze a sample of 722 funding requests submitted to an American VC firm and evaluate the influence of the form of the submission and content of business planning documents on VC funding decisions. We improve on prior literature by a) using a large sample of known representativeness, b) relating request characteristics to actual VC decisions, and c) developing an inferential logic that takes account of the multiple sources of information to which VCs have access. We find that the presence of planning documents and some information contained therein are weakly associated with VC funding decisions. Based on our inferential strategy, we find that this information is learned independently of its inclusion in the business planning documents.

Goldfarb B, Marschke G, Smith A. Scholarship and Inventive Activity in the University: Complements or Substitutes. Economics of Innovation and New Technology [Internet]. 2009;18 (8) :743-756. Publisher's Version


Universities are engaging in more licensing and patenting activities than ever before, and the amount of research funded by industry is increasing. Academics' commercialization activities may inhibit traditional academic scholarship. If the output of such scholarship is an important input into technological innovation and economic growth, then such an inhibition would be cause for concern. We introduce new instruments and techniques and demonstrate them using a novel panel dataset of academic electrical engineers from Stanford University. We find no evidence that engaging in inventive activity reduces the quantity of scientific output and some evidence that it increases its quality.


Dechenaux E, Goldfarb B, Shane S, Thursby M. Appropriability and commercialization: Evidence from MIT inventions. Management Science. 2008;54 :893–906.

Goldfarb B. The effect of government contracting on academic research: Does the source of funding affect scientific output?. Research Policy [Internet]. 2008;37 :41 - 58. Publisher's Version


Goldfarb B, Kirsch D. Small Ideas, Big Ideas, Bad Ideas, Good Ideas: "Get Big Fast" and Dot Com Venture Creation. In: The Internet and American Business . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press ; 2008. Pre-Publication Version

Laseter T, Kirsch D, Goldfarb B. Lessons of the last bubble. Available at: www. strategy-business. com/media/file/sb46\_07102. pdf. Accessed April. 2008;29.


Goldfarb B, Kirsch D, Miller DA. Was there too little entry during the Dot Com Era?. Journal of Financial Economics. 2007;86 :100–144.


Dew N, Goldfarb B, Sarasvathy S. Optimal inertia: when organizations should. Adv Strateg Manag. 2006;23 :73–99.


Goldfarb BD, Pfarrer MD, Kirsch D. Searching for ghosts: business survival, unmeasured entrepreneurial activity and private equity investment in the dot-com era. Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS. 2005 :06–027.

Goldfarb B. Diffusion of general-purpose technologies: understanding patterns in the electrification of US Manufacturing 1880–1930. Industrial and Corporate Change [Internet]. 2005;14 :745-773. Publisher's Version


I examine the diffusion of the electric motor between 1880 and 1930. I find that long lag times are determined by the degree of technical difficulty in application. After solutions became available, electrification generally proceeded rapidly. To make this claim, I explore three industries: urban transit, printing and paper making. I identify points at which viable electric solutions to particular problems were found and examine adoption patterns both before and after these events. The explanation contrasts with common demand-side explanations such as costly user-adaptation or information diffusion, and imposes conditions on the application of standard supply side models. The results are particularly important when examining the diffusion of broadly defined technological categories, such as general-purpose technologies. In the history of diffusion of many innovations, one cannot help being struck by two characteristics of the diffusion process: its apparent overall slowness on the one hand, and the wide variations in the rates of acceptance of different inventions, on the other. (Rosenberg, 1972: 191)


Goldfarb B, Henrekson M. Bottom-up versus top-down policies towards the commercialization of university intellectual property. Research policy. 2003;32 :639–658.


Goldfarb B, Henrekson M, Rosenberg N. Demand vs. supply driven innovations: US and Swedish experiences in academic entrepreneurship. 2001.

Bubbles and Crashes



Bubbles and Crashes
The Boom and Bust of Technological Innovation

Brent Goldfarb and David A. Kirsch


Maryland Smith’s Rachelle Sampson Named Panmure House Prize Recipient

Award to support research into the long-term funding of innovation

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Maryland Smith Authors Crack Code to Financial Bubbles

New Book Identifies Four-Factor Model for Predicting Next Crash

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 19, 2019) — Beware of a great story when…

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Online MBAs Earn Real Money During 2-Hour Pop-Up Challenge

Online MBA students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business tested their entrepreneurial ideas in a two-hour…

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Here’s the Best Way To Build a Startup Team

The Most Successful Startups Mix Friendships and Business To Build Teams, Finds Research

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Show Your Work: A Plea For Better Research Methods

New Paper Pushes Management Researchers to Show More Data

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History’s Top Innovators: Genius or Luck?

How early automobile entrepreneurs found an edge

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The ‘Still-Weird’ Market for Meme Stocks

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Bitcoin: Viable Currency, or Tulip-Style Bubble?

With the cryptocurrency on a new hot streak, experts share their views

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