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Designing Contracts for University Spin-offs


  • InÉs Macho-Stadler
  • David Pérez-Castrillo
  • Reinhilde Veugelers


"We provide a theoretical model about how to design academic spin-off contracts between the university technology transfer office (TTO), the researcher, and the venture capitalist. The optimal contract entails the allocation of founder shares to the researcher to secure her participation in the venture. It may also require the researcher to be financially involved in the project to give her incentives to provide effort. We also show that when the TTO has better information than the other two participants concerning the likelihood of success of the spin-off, it will end up owning both founder and financial shares in the venture." Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing.

Suggested Citation

  • InÉs Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2008. "Designing Contracts for University Spin-offs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 185-218, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:17:y:2008:i:1:p:185-218

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schnedler, Wendelin, 2003. "On the Prudence of Rewarding A While Hoping for B," IZA Discussion Papers 765, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Gibbons, Robert, 1987. "Piece-Rate Incentive Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 413-429, October.
    3. Meyer, Margaret A. & Olsen, Trond E. & Torsvik, Gaute, 1996. "Limited intertemporal commitment and job design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 401-417, December.
    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    5. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-581, June.
    6. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    7. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    8. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
    9. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    10. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
    11. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Macho-Stadler, Inés & Pérez-Castrillo, David, 2010. "Incentives in university technology transfers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 362-367, July.
    2. Erika Färnstrand Damsgaard & Marie C. Thursby, 2013. "University entrepreneurship and professor privilege," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 183-218, February.
    3. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Thursby, Jerry & Thursby, Marie, 2011. "Inventor moral hazard in university licensing: The role of contracts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 94-104, February.
    4. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:14:y:2017:i:05:n:s0219877017500262 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. David Grosse Kathoefer & Jens Leker, 2012. "Knowledge transfer in academia: an exploratory study on the Not-Invented-Here Syndrome," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 658-675, October.
    6. Banal-Estanol, A. & Macho-Stadler, I., 2008. "Commercial Incentives in Academia," Working Papers 08/13, Department of Economics, City University London.
    7. Joanna Poyago-Theotoky, 2009. "University-industry technology transfer options: licensing or research joint venture?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(4), pages 2582-2591.
    8. Козырев А.Н. & Неволин И. В., 2013. "Применение Алгоритма Решения Задачи Об Оптимальном Распределении Ресурсов К Проблеме Назначения Цены За Использование Интеллектуальной Собственности," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 49(3), pages 57-68, июль.

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