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Keywords:

  • patenting;
  • economics of science;
  • technology transfer;
  • self-selection

We examine the influence of faculty patenting on the rate, quality, and content of public research outputs in a panel dataset of 3,862 academic life scientists. Using inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to account for self-selection into patenting, we find that patenting has a positive effect on the rate of publications and a weak positive effect on the quality of these publications. We also find that patenters may be shifting their research focus to questions of commercial interest. We conclude that the often voiced concern that patenting in academe has a nefarious effect on public research output is misplaced.