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Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • Mathias Dewatripont
  • Jeremy C. Stein

Abstract

We develop a model that clarifies the respective advantages and disadvantages of academic and private-sector research. Our model assumes full protection of intellectual property rights at all stages of the development process, and hence does not rely on lack of appropriability or spillovers to generate a rationale for academic research. Instead, we focus on control-rights considerations, and argue that the fundamental tradeoff between academia and the private sector is one of creative control versus focus. By serving as a precommitment mechanism that allows scientists to freely pursue their own interests, academia can be indispensable for early-stage research. At the same time, the private sector%u2019s ability to direct scientists towards higher-payoff activities makes it more attractive for later-stage research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11542.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Publication status: published as Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Jeremy C. Stein, 2008. "Academic freedom, private-sector focus, and the process of innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 617-635.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11542

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  1. Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Incentives and invention in universities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4711, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Hellmann, Thomas F & Perotti, Enrico C, 2006. "The Circulation of Ideas: Firms Versus Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5469, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Kaplan, Steven N. & Sensoy, Berk A. & Strömberg, Per, 2005. "What are Firms? Evolution from Birth to Public Companies," SIFR Research Report Series 36, Institute for Financial Research.
  4. Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
  5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Atif Mian, 2008. "Incentives in Markets, Firms, and Governments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 273-306, October.
  11. Michael S. McPherson & Morton Owen Schapiro, 1999. "Tenure Issues in Higher Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 85-98, Winter.
  12. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
  13. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
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