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Who Is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing

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Author Info

  • Jerry G. Thursby

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322)

  • Marie C. Thursby

    ()
    (Dupree College of Management, Georgia Tech & NBER)

Abstract

Historically, commercial use of university research has been viewed in terms of spillovers. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in technology transfer through licensing as universities attempt to appropriate the returns from faculty research. This change has prompted concerns regarding the source of this growth-specifically, whether it suggests a change in the nature of university research. We develop an intermediate input model to examine the extent to which the growth in licensing is due to the productivity of observable inputs or driven by a change in the propensity of faculty and administrators to engage in commercializing university research. We model licensing as a three-stage process, each involving multiple inputs. Nonparametric programming techniques are applied to survey data from 64 universities to calculate total factor productivity (TFP) growth in each stage. To examine the sources of TFP growth, the productivity analysis is augmented by survey evidence from businesses who license-in university inventions. Results suggest that increased licensing is due primarily to an increased willingness of faculty and administrators to license and increased business reliance on external R&D rather than a shift in faculty research.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.1.90.14271
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 48 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 90-104

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:1:p:90-104

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Keywords: University Licensing; Invention Disclosures; Patents; Entrepreneurial Activity;

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  1. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "The Economic Theory of Index Numbers and the Measurement of Input, Output, and Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1393-1414, November.
  2. Donald Siegel & David Waldman & Albert Link, 1999. "Assessing the Impact of Organizational Practices on the Productivity of University Technology Transfer Offices: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 7256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff Armstrong, 1994. "Intellectual Capital and the Firm: The Technology of Geographically Localized Knowledge Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Seiford, Lawrence M. & Thrall, Robert M., 1990. "Recent developments in DEA : The mathematical programming approach to frontier analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 7-38.
  5. Thursby, Jerry G. & Kemp, Sukanya, 2002. "Growth and productive efficiency of university intellectual property licensing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 109-124, January.
  6. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
  7. Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel & Henderson, Rebecca, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-98, August.
  8. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
  9. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
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