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Are there real effects of licensing on academic research? A life cycle view

  • Thursby, Marie
  • Thursby, Jerry
  • Gupta-Mukherjee, Swasti

Whether financial returns to university licensing divert faculty from basic research is examined in a life cycle context. As in traditional life cycle models, faculty devote more time to research, which can be either basic or applied, early and more time to leisure as they age. Licensing has real effects by increasing the ratio of applied to basic effort and reducing leisure throughout the life cycle, but basic research need not suffer. When applied effort adds nothing to the stock of knowledge, licensing reduces research output, but if applied effort leads to publishable output as well as licenses, then research output and the stock of knowledge are higher with licensing than without. When tenure is added to the system, licensing has a positive effect on research output except when the incentives to license are very high.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 63 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 577-598

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:63:y:2007:i:4:p:577-598
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2000. "Who is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," NBER Working Papers 7718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
  22. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
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  27. Jerry Thursby & Marie Thursby, 2005. "Gender Patterns of Research and Licensing Activity of Science and Engineering Faculty," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 343-353, October.
  28. Siow, Aloysius, 1998. "Tenure and Other Unusual Personnel Practices in Academia," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 152-73, April.
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