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Finding the Endless Frontier: Lessons from the Life Sciences Innovation System for Technology Policy

Listed author(s):
  • Cockburn Iain M.

    (Boston University and NBER)

  • Stern Scott

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER)

This paper considers the drivers of the structure and evolution of the life sciences innovation system, a remarkable success story for public support of science. The growth and performance of this system reflect the interaction between abundant scientific and technological opportunity, a reasonably effective and adaptive institutional and property rights framework, and a reservoir of unmet demand for therapies and technologies that significantly enhance human health care. Examining the evolution and dynamism of the life sciences innovation system, we emphasize three central foundations: a long-term and relatively stable commitment of financial and human resources by both the public sector and for-profit organizations, market and non-market institutions that encourage competition on the basis of innovation across multiple dimensions, and the promise of significant financial rewards for private sector innovators leveraging publicly funded scientific discoveries.

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File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/cas.2010.5.1/cas.2010.5.1.1071/cas.2010.5.1.1071.xml?format=INT
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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Capitalism and Society.

Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 1-50

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:capsoc:v:5:y:2010:i:1:n:1
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  1. Rosenberg, Nathan, 2009. "Some critical episodes in the progress of medical innovation: An Anglo-American perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 234-242, March.
  2. Sara Ellison Fisher & Iain Cockburn & Zvi Griliches & Jerry Hausman, 1997. "Characteristics of Demand for Pharmaceutical Products: An Examination of Four Cephalosporins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 426-446, Autumn.
  3. Lacy Glenn Thomas, 1990. "Regulation and Firm Size: FDA Impacts on Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 497-517, Winter.
  4. Gans, Joshua S. & Stern, Scott, 2003. "The product market and the market for "ideas": commercialization strategies for technology entrepreneurs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 333-350, February.
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  6. Duggan Mark G & Evans William N, 2008. "Estimating the Impact of Medical Innovation: A Case Study of HIV Antiretroviral Treatments," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-39, January.
  7. Margaret K. Kyle, 2007. "Pharmaceutical Price Controls and Entry Strategies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 88-99, February.
  8. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. Amy Finkelstein, 2004. "Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy: Evidence from the Vaccine Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 527-564.
  10. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-495, October.
  11. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
  12. Nelson, Richard R & Wright, Gavin, 1992. "The Rise and Fall of American Technological Leadership: The Postwar Era in Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1931-1964, December.
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