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Commercializing Knowledge: University Science, Knowledge Capture, and Firm Performance in Biotechnology

Author

Listed:
  • Lynne G. Zucker

    (Sociology Department, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1551)

  • Michael R. Darby

    (Anderson School, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1481)

  • Jeff S. Armstrong

    (Analysis Group/Economics, 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10174)

Abstract

Commercializing knowledge involves transfer from discovering scientists to those who will develop it commercially. New codes and formulae describing discoveries develop slowly-with little incentive if value is low and many competing opportunities if high. Hence new knowledge remains naturally excludable and appropriable. Team production allows more knowledge capture of tacit, complex discoveries by firm scientists. A robust indicator of a firm's tacit knowledge capture (and strong predictor of its success) is the number of research articles written jointly by firm scientists and discovering, "star" scientists, nearly all working at top universities. An operationally attractive generalization of our star measure-collaborative research articles between firm scientists and top research university scientists-replicates the impact on firm success. In panel analyses, publications by firm scientists with stars and/or top 112 university scientists increase the number and citation rate for firm patents. Further, star articles increase these rates significantly more than other top 112 university scientists' articles. Cross-sectional analyses of products and employment show a similar pattern of positive effects on firms' success of collaborations with stars or top university scientists, but estimates of differential effects are nonrobust due to multicollinearity. Venture capital funding has significant, usually positive effects on firm success.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff S. Armstrong, 2002. "Commercializing Knowledge: University Science, Knowledge Capture, and Firm Performance in Biotechnology," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 138-153, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:1:p:138-153
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.48.1.138.14274
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Biotechnology; Knowledge Capture; Spillovers; Star Scientists; Venture Capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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