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Exploring the Relationship Between Scientist Human Capital and Firm Performance: The Case of Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurs in the SBIR Program

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  • Andrew A. Toole

    () (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901)

  • Dirk Czarnitzki

    () (Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy, and Innovation and Steunpunt O& O Indicatoren, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; and Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), 68161 Mannheim, Germany)

Abstract

There is an emerging debate in the scholarly literature regarding the extent to which academic human capital contributes to firm performance. This debate centers on the nature of an academic scientist's human capital and its institutional specificity. Using data on the human capital of biomedical scientists developed during their careers in academe, this paper analyzes how the depth of their scientifically and commercially oriented academic human capital contributes to firm performance when these scientists subsequently start or join for-profit firms. We find that the scientific and commercial components of an academic scientist's human capital have differential effects on the performance of research and invention tasks at the firm. We also find that the contribution of an academic scientist to a firm's patent productivity is decreasing with the depth of their scientifically oriented human capital, all else constant. These results support the view that academic human capital is heterogeneous and has an institutional specificity that mediates its value when applied in a commercialization environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2009. "Exploring the Relationship Between Scientist Human Capital and Firm Performance: The Case of Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurs in the SBIR Program," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 101-114, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:1:p:101-114
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1080.0913
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    2. Rivera, Rene & Sampedro, Jose Luis & Dutrenit, Gabriela & Ekboir, Javier Mario & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2009. "How productive are academic researchers in agriculture-related sciences? The Mexican case," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Rivera-Huerta, René & Dutrénit, Gabriela & Ekboir, Javier Mario & Sampedro, José Luis & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2011. "Do linkages between farmers and academic researchers influence researcher productivity? The Mexican case," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 932-942, September.
    4. Dirk Czarnitzki & Christian Rammer & Andrew Toole, 2014. "University spin-offs and the “performance premium”," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 309-326, August.
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    6. Stefan Krabel & Donald Siegel & Viktor Slavtchev, 2012. "The internationalization of science and its influence on academic entrepreneurship," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 192-212, April.
    7. Henry Sauermann, 2017. "Fire in the Belly? Employee Motives and Innovative Performance in Startups versus Established Firms," NBER Working Papers 23099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dirk Czarnitzki & Andrew Toole, 2010. "Is there a trade-off between academic research and faculty entrepreneurship? Evidence from US NIH supported biomedical researchers," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 505-520.
    9. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9476-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mahoney, Joseph T., 2012. "Towards a Stakeholder Theory of Strategic Management," Working Papers 12-0100, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    11. Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2010. "Commercializing Science: Is There a University "Brain Drain" from Academic Entrepreneurship?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1599-1614, September.
    12. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
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    15. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2012. "The nexus between science and industry: evidence from faculty inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 755-776, October.
    16. Benjamin A. Campbell, 2013. "Earnings Effects of Entrepreneurial Experience: Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 286-304, February.
    17. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:7:p:1373-1390 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Michael Fritsch & Stefan Krabel, 2012. "Ready to leave the ivory tower?: Academic scientists’ appeal to work in the private sector," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 271-296, June.
    19. Michael P. Ciuchta & Yan Gong & Anne S. Miner & Chaim Letwin & Anthony Sadler, 2016. "Imprinting and the progeny of university spin-offs," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 1113-1134, October.
    20. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:216-228 is not listed on IDEAS
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    22. Jose Maria Millan & Emilio Congregado & Concepcion Roman & Mirjam van Praag & Andre van Stel, 2011. "The Value of an Educated Population for an Individual's Entrepreneurship Success," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-066/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 May 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    academic entrepreneurship; SBIR; human capital; commercialization; firm performance;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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