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The effect of institutional proximity in non-local university–industry collaborations: An analysis based on Chinese patent data


  • Hong, Wei
  • Su, Yu-Sung


Based on Chinese patent data from 1985 to 2004, this study aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of formal university–industry collaborations in China, with a specific focus on the compound effect of geographic distance and other predictors. The results show that geographic distance is indeed an obstructive factor in achieving university–industry collaborations, as many previous studies have shown. However, proximities in other dimensions could intervene to attenuate that negative effect. The most salient finding is that central Ministries and local governments are two sources of institutional force that could impose or encourage university–industry collaborations without considering the geographic distance between them. The vertical and horizontal institutional proximities engendered by subordination to the same administrative unit significantly enhance the probability of collaboration, and those effects are more significant when the distance increases. Social proximity and university prestige, as verified by previous studies, could also help bring non-local academic and industrial partners together. However, when confronting with institutional interference that is of overarching importance in the Chinese context, these effects could decrease.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong, Wei & Su, Yu-Sung, 2013. "The effect of institutional proximity in non-local university–industry collaborations: An analysis based on Chinese patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 454-464.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:2:p:454-464 DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.05.012

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    Cited by:

    1. Aihua Chen & Donald Patton & Martin Kenney, 2016. "University technology transfer in China: a literature review and taxonomy," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 891-929, October.
    2. Wang, Yuandi & Ning, Lutao & Prevezer, Martha, 2015. "Technological diversification in China from 1986 to 2011: Evidence from patent data," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 54-66.
    3. Kafouros, Mario & Wang, Chengqi & Piperopoulos, Panagiotis & Zhang, Mingshen, 2015. "Academic collaborations and firm innovation performance in China: The role of region-specific institutions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 803-817.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:98:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1135-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:101:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1366-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. James LeSage & Yuxue Sheng, 2014. "A spatial econometric panel data examination of endogenous versus exogenous interaction in Chinese province-level patenting," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 233-262, July.
    7. Robert J. W. Tijssen & Alfredo Yegros-Yegros & Jos J. Winnink, 2016. "University–industry R&D linkage metrics: validity and applicability in world university rankings," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(2), pages 677-696, November.
    8. repec:spr:scient:v:111:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2362-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. A. Fernández & E. Ferrándiz & M. D. León, 2016. "Proximity dimensions and scientific collaboration among academic institutions in Europe: The closer, the better?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(3), pages 1073-1092, March.
    10. Li, Jian & Strange, Roger & Ning, Lutao & Sutherland, Dylan, 2016. "Outward foreign direct investment and domestic innovation performance: Evidence from China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 1010-1019.
    11. Chang, Shu-Hao, 2017. "The technology networks and development trends of university-industry collaborative patents," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 107-113.
    12. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth & Sandner, Philipp, 2016. "China's R&D explosion—Analyzing productivity effects across ownership types and over time," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 159-176.
    13. Cristian Barra & Ornella Wanda Maietta & Roberto Zotti, 2017. "First, Second and Third Tier Universities: Academic Excellence, Local Knowledge Spillovers and Innovation in Europe," CSEF Working Papers 468, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    14. Villani, Elisa & Rasmussen, Einar & Grimaldi, Rosa, 2017. "How intermediary organizations facilitate university–industry technology transfer: A proximity approach," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 86-102.
    15. Sun, Yutao, 2016. "The structure and dynamics of intra- and inter-regional research collaborative networks: The case of China (1985–2008)," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 70-82.
    16. Lee, Yoo Hwan & Graff, Gregory D., 2016. "Academic Knowledge Spillovers and the Role of Geographic Proximity in Regional Agriculture-related Sectors: The impact of agricultural research at Colorado State University on the Colorado economy, an," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235717, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Lutao Ning & Martha Prevezer & Yuandi Wang, 2014. "Technological diversification in China: Based on Chinese patent analysis during 1986-2011," Working Papers 55, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    18. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:7:p:1299-1311 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Yi Zhang & Kaihua Chen & Guilong Zhu & Richard C. M. Yam & Jiancheng Guan, 2016. "Inter-organizational scientific collaborations and policy effects: an ego-network evolutionary perspective of the Chinese Academy of Sciences," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(3), pages 1383-1415, September.


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