Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Thomas Kim

Reader 2

Darren Filson

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© 2015 Sofie C. Thixton

Abstract

What specific factors contribute to Silicon Valley’s world-renowned success as a high technology district? How significant is California’s rejection of specific regulation restricting the mobility of technical professionals via the nullification of all non-compete agreements? Using in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs seeking to start their own companies, I argue that the ability to effectively ignore non-compete agreements in Silicon Valley is a critical yet understudied premise underlying Silicon Valley’s success. Scholars seeking to understand Silicon Valley’s global success and continuing allure must turn their attention to the effects of this regulation. My findings suggest that an analysis not only of these regulations but of the lack of enforcement around such regulations needs to be a central focus in understanding how Silicon Valley emerged as a high technological powerhouse.

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