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Commercializing knowledge: university science, knowledge capture and firm performance in biotechnology

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  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby
  • Jeff S. Armstrong

Abstract

Commercializing knowledge involves transfer from discovering scientists to those who will develop it commercially. New codes and formulae describing discoveries develop slowly-with little incentive if value is low and many competing opportunities if high. Hence new knowledge remains naturally excludable and appropriable. Team production allows more knowledge capture of tacit, complex discoveries by firm scientists. A robust indicator of a firm's tacit knowledge capture (and strong predictor of its success) is the number of research articles written jointly by firm scientists and discovering, "star" scientists, nearly all working at top universities. An operationally attractive generalization of our star measure-collaborative research articles between firm scientists and top research university scientists-replicates the impact on firm success. In panel analyses, publications by firm scientists with stars and/or top 112 university scientists increase the number and citation rate for firm patents. Further, star articles increase these rates significantly more than other top 112 university scientists' articles. Cross-sectional analyses of products and employment show a similar pattern of positive effects on firms' success of collaborations with stars or top university scientists, but estimates of differential effects are nonrobust due to multicollinearity. Venture capital funding has significant, usually positive effects on firm success.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Sep ()
Pages: 149-170

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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddpr:y:2003:i:sep:p:149-170

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Keywords: Patents ; Research and development ; Venture capital;

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  1. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2002. "Going Public When You Can in Biotechnology," NBER Working Papers 8954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2000. "Who is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," NBER Working Papers 7718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R, 2001. " Capturing Technological Opportunity via Japan's Star Scientists: Evidence from Japanese Firms' Biotech Patents and Products," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
  4. Zvi Griliches, 1991. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1991. "On the application of robust, regression- based diagnostics to models of conditional means and conditional variances," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 5-46, January.
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  9. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Economics of Invention: A Survey of the Literature," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32, pages 101.
  10. Richard Jensen & Marie Thursby, 1998. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Tale of University Licensing," NBER Working Papers 6698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Armstrong, Jeff, 1998. "Geographically Localized Knowledge: Spillovers or Markets?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 65-86, January.
  12. Harberger, Arnold C, 1998. "A Vision of the Growth Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 1-32, March.
  13. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Stephan, Paula E & Everhart, Stephen S, 1998. " The Changing Rewards to Science: The Case of Biotechnology," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 141-51, March.
  15. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  16. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Maximo Torero, 2000. "Analyzing the Spillover Mechanism on the Semiconductor Industry in the Silicon Valley and Route 128," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0090, Econometric Society.
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