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Collaboration objectives and the location of the university partner: Evidence from the Piedmont region in Italy


  • We are grateful to the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce for help with data collection, and particularly to Barbara Barazza for her support and comments. The UIPIE database used for this analysis was created with the support of the project IAMAT co-ordinated by Fondazione Rosselli. Financial support from the European Commission (FP6) Project, NEST-2006-PATH-Cul, CID, Contract no: FP6-043345 is gratefully acknowledged. For very helpful comments that have greatly improved the paper, we are grateful to the participants in the EAEPE conference ‘The economic crisis and the renewal of the European model(s): Revisiting the debate on varieties of capitalism’, Bordeaux, October 28–30, 2010, and to three anonymous reviewers.


This study examines firms' decisions to collaborate with universities in their region as opposed to non-regional universities, focusing on the role of collaboration objectives. Through a survey of a representative sample of manufacturing firms in the Piedmont region (Italy), we find that firms seeking business advice are more likely to collaborate with regional universities while firms seeking R&D support and testing and analysis services are more likely to collaborate with both regional and non-regional universities. The partner university's location is endogenous to the level of investment in the collaboration; and the collaboration objectives provide good instruments. Some implications for regional policy are discussed.


Este estudio examina las decisiones de las empresas en cuanto a colaborar con las universidades en su región, en comparación con las universidades no regionales, centrándose en el papel de los objetivos de colaboración. Mediante una encuesta a una muestra representativa de empresas manufactureras de la región del Piamonte (Italia), encontramos que las empresas que buscan asesoramiento empresarial son más propensas a colaborar con universidades regionales, mientras las empresas que buscan apoyo de I+D y servicios de laboratorio y análisis son más propensas a colaborar tanto con universidades regionales como no regionales. La ubicación de la universidad con la que asociarse es endógena respecto al nivel de inversión en la colaboración y los objetivos de colaboración proporcionan buenos instrumentos. Se discuten varias implicaciones para la política regional.