Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation
AbstractScientific freedom and openness are hallmarks of academia: relative to their counterparts in industry, academics maintain discretion over their research agenda and allow others to build on their discoveries. This paper examines the relationship between openness and freedom, building on recent models emphasizing that, from an economic perspective, freedom is the granting of control rights to researchers. Within this framework, openness of upstream research does not simply encourage higher levels of downstream exploitation. It also raises the incentives for additional upstream research by encouraging the establishment of entirely new research directions. In other words, within academia, restrictions on scientific openness (such as those created by formal intellectual property (IP)) may limit the diversity and experimentation of basic research itself. We test this hypothesis by examining a "natural experiment" in openness within the academic community: NIH agreements during the late 1990s that circumscribed IP restrictions for academics regarding certain genetically engineered mice. Using a sample of engineered mice that are linked to specific scientific papers (some affected by the NIH agreements and some not), we implement a differences-in-differences estimator to evaluate how the level and type of follow-on research using these mice changes after the NIH-induced increase in openness. We find a significant increase in the level of follow-on research. Moreover, this increase is driven by a substantial increase in the rate of exploration of more diverse research paths. Overall, our findings highlight a neglected cost of IP: reductions in the diversity of experimentation that follows from a single idea.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14819.
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-04-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-INO-2009-04-05 (Innovation)
- NEP-SOG-2009-04-05 (Sociology of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Rebecca Henderson & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1998.
"Universities As A Source Of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis Of University Patenting, 1965-1988,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 119-127, February.
- Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," NBER Working Papers 5068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Henderson, R. & Jaffe, A.B.: Tratenberg, M., 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," Papers 09-95, Tel Aviv.
- Murray, Fiona, 2002. "Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1389-1403, December.
- Jeffrey L. Furman & Scott Stern, 2006. "Climbing Atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research," NBER Working Papers 12523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Owen-Smith, Jason & Powell, Walter W., 2003. "The expanding role of university patenting in the life sciences: assessing the importance of experience and connectivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1695-1711, October.
- Murray, Fiona & Stern, Scott, 2007. "Do formal intellectual property rights hinder the free flow of scientific knowledge?: An empirical test of the anti-commons hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 648-687, August.
- Fiona E. Murray & Scott Stern, 2007. "Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge?: An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Larsen, Maria Theresa, 2011. "The implications of academic enterprise for public science: An overview of the empirical evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 6-19, February.
- Thomas F. Hellmann & Enrico C. Perotti, 2011.
"The Circulation of Ideas in Firms and Markets,"
NBER Working Papers
16943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2011.
"The Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge across Time and Space: Evidence from Professional Transitions for the Superstars of Medicine,"
in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 107-155
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2011. "The Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge Across Time and Space: Evidence from Professional Transitions for the Superstars of Medicine," NBER Working Papers 16683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alexy, Oliver & Reitzig, Markus, 2013. "Private–collective innovation, competition, and firms’ counterintuitive appropriation strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 895-913.
- Anders Broström, 2012. "Firms’ rationales for interaction with research universities and the principles for public co-funding," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 313-329, June.
- Simeth, Markus & Raffo, Julio D., 2013.
"What makes companies pursue an Open Science strategy?,"
Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1531-1543.
- Markus Simeth & Julio Raffo, 2013. "What makes companies pursue an open science strategy?," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 06, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division, revised Apr 2013.
- Joshua S. Gans & Fiona Murray, 2013.
"Credit History: The Changing Nature of Scientific Credit,"
NBER Working Papers
19538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joshua S. Gans & Fiona Murray, 2014. "Credit History: The Changing Nature of Scientific Credit," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:wip:wpaper:6 is not listed on IDEAS
- Joshua S. Gans & Fiona E. Murray & Scott Stern, 2013. "Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication," NBER Working Papers 19560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Czarnitzki, Dirk & Rammer, Christian & Toole, Andrew A., 2013. "University spinoffs and the 'performance premium'," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-004, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.