THE IMPACT OF ACADEMIC PATENTING ON THE RATE, QUALITY AND DIRECTION OF (PUBLIC) RESEARCH OUTPUT

Authors


  • *We thank Rajeev Dehejia, Kei Hirano, David Levine and Scott Stern for useful comments, and seminar audiences at the NBER, Columbia University, the Israel Institute of Technology, INSEAD, UC-Berkeley, the University of Arizona, MIT, Duke, NYU, Stanford GSB, and Harvard Business School. We also thank the Eugene Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School for financial support. The usual disclaimer applies.

Abstract

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.

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