Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson


Office: F-403A Mullin Management Commons, Anderson

Email: olav.sorenson@anderson.ucla.edu

Phone: (310)267-4182

Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae

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Olav Sorenson is the Joseph Jacobs Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor of Sociology and Strategy

He had been a faculty member at UCLA from 1999-2005 and returned in 2020. In between, he held the Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professorship at Yale, the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair in Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto, and a professorship in Strategic and International Management at London Business School.

Olav’s primary stream of research pertains to economic geography, focusing on how entrepreneurship influences the growth and competitiveness of regions, and on why some regions have more successful entrepreneurs than others. In particular, he has called attention to some of the unexpected consequences of the fact that social capital plays an important role in entrepreneurial success.

He also has secondary research streams on how social relationships influence economic transactions and on the sociology of science and innovation.

Olav co-founded Sociological Science and serves as a Department Editor at Management Science. He has also held editorial positions at the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review and ten other journals.


Doctor Mercaturae Honoris Causa, Aalborg University

Ph.D. in Sociology, Stanford University

M.A. in Sociology, Stanford University

A.B. in Social Studies, Harvard University


  • Olav Sorenson, Michael S. Dahl, Rodrigo Canales, and M. Diane Burton. “Do startup employees earn more in the long-run?” Organization Science, 32(3): 587-604
  • Ramana Nanda, Sampsa Samila, and Olav Sorenson. “The persistent effects of initial success: Evidence from venture capital.” Journal of Financial Economics, 137: 231-248
  • Marc Lerchenmueller, Olav Sorenson, and Anupam B. Jena. “Gender differences in how scientists present the importance of their research: observational study.” British Medical Journal, 367: I6573
  • Olav Sorenson. “Social networks and the geography of entrepreneurship.” Small Business Economics, 51(3): 527-537
  • Marc Lerchenmueller and Olav Sorenson. “Gender differences in early career transitions in the academic life sciences.” Research Policy, 47(6): 1007-1017
  • Olav Sorenson. “Regional ecologies of entrepreneurship.” Journal of Economic Geography, 17(5): 959-974
  • Sampsa Samila and Olav Sorenson. “Community and capital in entrepreneurship and economic growth.” American Sociological Review, 82(4): 770-795
  • Olav Sorenson, Valentina Assenova, Guan-Ching Li, Jason Boada, and Lee Fleming. “Expanding innovation finance via crowdfunding.” Science, 354(6319): 1526-1528
  • Olav Sorenson and Michael S. Dahl. “Geography, joint choices, and the reproduction of gender inequality.” American Sociological Review, 81(5): 900-920
  • Olav Sorenson and Michelle Rogan. “(When) do firms have social capital?” Annual Review of Sociology, 40: 261-280
  • Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson. “Home sweet home: Entrepreneurs’ location choices and the performance of their ventures.” Management Science, 58(6): 1059-1071
  • Sampsa Samila and Olav Sorenson. “Venture capital, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.” Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(1): 338-349
  • Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson. “The social attachment to place.” Social Forces, 89(2): 633-658
  • Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson. “The embedded entrepreneur.” European Management Review, 6(3): 172-181
  • Jesper B. Sørensen and Olav Sorenson. “Corporate demography and income inequality.” American Sociological Review, 72(5): 766-783
  • Olav Sorenson and David M. Waguespack. “Social structure and exchange: Self-confirming dynamics in Hollywood.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 51(4): 560-589
  • Olav Sorenson, Jan W. Rivkin, and Lee Fleming. “Complexity, networks and knowledge flow.” Research Policy, 35(7): 994-1017
  • Olav Sorenson and Lee Fleming. “Science and the diffusion of knowledge.” Research Policy, 33(10): 1615-1634
  • Lee Fleming and Olav Sorenson. “Science as a map in technological search.” Strategic Management Journal, 25(8-9): 909-928
  • Toby E. Stuart and Olav Sorenson. “Liquidity events and the geographic distribution of entrepreneurial activity.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(2): 175-201
  • Lee Fleming and Olav Sorenson. Technology as a complex adaptive system: Evidence from patent data. Research Policy, 30(7): 1019-1039
  • Olav Sorenson and Toby E. Stuart. “Syndication networks and the spatial distribution of venture capital investments.” American Journal of Sociology, 106(6): 1546-1588
  • Olav Sorenson and Pino G. Audia. “The social structure of entrepreneurial activity: Geographic concentration of footwear production in the U. S. , 1940-1989.” American Journal of Sociology, 106(2): 424-461

Awards & Grants

  • 2018 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research
  • 2017 OMT Best Entrepreneurship Paper Award, Academy of Management
  • 2016 OMT Best International Paper Award, Academy of Management
  • 2012 Carol and Bruce Mallen Award for Lifetime Published Scholarly Contributions to Motion Picture Industry Studies