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Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation

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Listed:
  • Fiona Murray
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Mathias Dewatripont
  • Julian Kolev
  • Scott Stern

Abstract

This paper argues that openness, by lowering costs to access existing research, can enhance both early and late stage innovation through greater exploration of novel research directions. We examine a natural experiment in openness: late-1990s NIH agreements that reduced academics' access costs regarding certain genetically engineered mice. Implementing difference-in-differences estimators, we find that increased openness encourages entry by new researchers and exploration of more diverse research paths, and does not reduce the creation of new genetically engineered mice. Our findings highlight a neglected cost of strong intellectual property restrictions: lower levels of exploration leading to reduced diversity of research output. (JEL I23, O31, O33, O34)

Suggested Citation

  • Fiona Murray & Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Julian Kolev & Scott Stern, 2016. "Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 212-252, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:212-52
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140062
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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