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Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation

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  • Ajay Agrawal
  • Avi Goldfarb

Abstract

We report evidence that Bitnet adoption facilitated increased research collaboration between US universities. However, not all institutions benefited equally. Using panel data from seven top engineering journals, Bitnet connection records, and institution ranking data, we find that middle-tier universities were the primary beneficiaries; they benefited largely by increasing their collaboration with top-tier schools. Furthermore, we find that the magnitude of this effect is greatest for co-located pairs. Thus, the advent of Bitnet – and likely of subsequent networks – seems to have increased the role of middle-tier universities as producers of new knowledge in the national innovation system. (JEL D85, I23, O31, O33)

Suggested Citation

  • Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb, 2008. "Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1578-1590, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:4:p:1578-90
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.4.1578
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kim, E. Han & Morse, Adair & Zingales, Luigi, 2009. "Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 353-381, September.
    2. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 2002. "The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 399-432, Autumn.
    3. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    4. Jacques Mairesse & Laure Turner, 2006. "Measurement and Explanation of the Intensity of Co-publication in Scientific Research: An Analysis at the Laboratory Level," Chapters,in: New Frontiers in the Economics of Innovation and New Technology, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Gaspar, Jess & Glaeser, Edward L., 1998. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 136-156, January.
    6. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    7. Tanya S. Rosenblat & Markus M. Mobius, 2004. "Getting Closer or Drifting Apart?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 971-1009.
    8. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Sharon M. Oster, 2002. "Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 539-555, October.
    9. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 551-572, June.
    10. Adair Morse, 2006. "Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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