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Commercializing Science: Is There a University "Brain Drain" from Academic Entrepreneurship?

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  • Andrew A. Toole

    () (Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901; and Centre for European Economic Research, 68161 Mannheim, Germany)

  • Dirk Czarnitzki

    () (Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Centre for R& D Monitoring at K.U. Leuven; and Centre for European Economic Research, 68161 Mannheim, Germany)

Abstract

When academic researchers participate in commercialization using for-profit firms, there is a potentially costly trade-off--their time and effort are diverted away from academic knowledge production. This is a form of brain drain on the not-for-profit research sector that may reduce knowledge accumulation and adversely impact long-run economic growth. In this paper, we examine the economic significance of the brain drain phenomenon using scientist-level panel data. We identify life scientists who start or join for-profit firms using information from the Small Business Innovation Research program and analyze the research performance of these scientists relative to a control group of randomly selected research peers. Combining our statistical results with data on the number of university spin-offs in the United States from 1994 to 2004, we find the academic brain drain has a nontrivial impact on knowledge production in the not-for-profit research sector.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:9:p:1599-1614
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1192
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dorner, Matthias & Fryges, Helmut & Schopen, Kathrin, 2015. "Wages in high-tech start-ups - do academic spin-offs pay a wage premium?," IAB Discussion Paper 201517, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. 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.
    3. repec:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9525-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hottenrott, Hanna & Lawson, Cornelia, 2014. "Flying the nest: How the home department shapes researchers’ career paths," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201409, University of Turin.
    5. Hottenrott, Hanna & Thorwarth, Susanne, 2010. "Industry funding of university research and scientific productivity," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-105, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Konstantinos Pitsakis & Vangelis Souitaris & Nicos Nicolaou, 2015. "The Peripheral Halo Effect: Do Academic Spinoffs Influence Universities' Research Income?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 321-353, May.
    7. Fudickar, Roman & Hottenrott, Hanna & Lawson, Cornelia, 2016. "What’s the price of consulting? Effects of public and private sector consulting on academic research," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201603, University of Turin.
    8. Perkmann, Markus & Tartari, Valentina & McKelvey, Maureen & Autio, Erkko & Broström, Anders & D’Este, Pablo & Fini, Riccardo & Geuna, Aldo & Grimaldi, Rosa & Hughes, Alan & Krabel, Stefan & Kitson, Mi, 2013. "Academic engagement and commercialisation: A review of the literature on university–industry relations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 423-442.
    9. Hottenrott, Hanna & Lawson, Cornelia, 2017. "Fishing for complementarities: Research grants and research productivity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-38.
    10. Erikson, Truls & Knockaert, Mirjam & Foo, Maw Der, 2015. "Enterprising scientists: The shaping role of norms, experience and scientific productivity," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 211-221.
    11. James A. Cunningham & Paul O’Reilly & Brendan Dolan & Conor O’Kane & Vincent Mangematin, 2016. "Publicly funded principal investigators allocation of time for public sector entrepreneurship activities," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(4), pages 383-408, December.
    12. Annelore Huyghe & Mirjam Knockaert & Evila Piva & Mike Wright, 2016. "Are researchers deliberately bypassing the technology transfer office? An analysis of TTO awareness," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 589-607, October.
    13. Peter T. Gianiodis & Gideon D. Markman & Andreas Panagopoulos, 2016. "Entrepreneurial universities and overt opportunism," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 609-631, October.
    14. Olof Ejermo & John Källström, 2016. "What is the causal effect of R&D on patenting activity in a “professor’s privilege” country? Evidence from Sweden," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 677-694, October.
    15. Banal-Estañol, Albert & Jofre-Bonet, Mireia & Lawson, Cornelia, 2015. "The double-edged sword of industry collaboration: Evidence from engineering academics in the UK," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 1160-1175.
    16. repec:spr:joptap:v:168:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10957-015-0747-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. 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.
    18. Dorner, Matthias & Fryges, Helmut & Schopen, Kathrin, 2017. "Wages in high-tech start-ups – Do academic spin-offs pay a wage premium?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18.
    19. Rentocchini, Francesco & D'Este, Pablo & Manjarrés-Henríquez, Liney & Grimaldi, Rosa, 2014. "The relationship between academic consulting and research performance: Evidence from five Spanish universities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 70-83.
    20. O’Kane, Conor & Mangematin, Vincent & Geoghegan, Will & Fitzgerald, Ciara, 2015. "University technology transfer offices: The search for identity to build legitimacy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 421-437.
    21. Fernandez-Zubieta, Ana & Geuna, Aldo & Lawson, Cornelia, 2015. "What do We Know of the Mobility of Research Scientists and of its Impact on Scientific Production," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201522, University of Turin.
    22. Ani Gerbin & Mateja Drnovsek, 2016. "Determinants and public policy implications of academic-industry knowledge transfer in life sciences: a review and a conceptual framework," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 979-1076, October.
    23. Sánchez-Barrioluengo, Mabel, 2014. "Articulating the ‘three-missions’ in Spanish universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(10), pages 1760-1773.
    24. Dirk Czarnitzki & Christoph Grimpe & Maikel Pellens, 2015. "Access to research inputs: open science versus the entrepreneurial university," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(6), pages 1050-1063, December.
    25. Einar Rasmussen & Mike Wright, 2015. "How can universities facilitate academic spin-offs? An entrepreneurial competency perspective," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 782-799, October.

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