Capturing Technological Opportunity via Japan's Star Scientists: Evidence from Japanese Firms' Biotech Patents and Products
Using detailed data on biotechnology in Japan, we find that identifiable collaborations between particular university star scientists and firms have a large positive impact on firms' research productivity, increasing the average firm's biotech patents by 34 percent, products in development by 27 percent, and products on the market by 8 percent as of 1989-1990. However, there is little evidence of geographically localized knowledge spillovers. In early industry formation, star scientists holding tacit knowledge required to practice recombinant DNA (genetic engineering) were of great economic value, leading to incentives motivating their participation in technology transfer. In Japan, the legal and institutional context implies that firm scientists work in the stars' university laboratories in contrast to America where the stars are more likely to work in the firm's labs. As a result, star collaborations in Japan are less localized around their research universities so that the universities' local economic development impact is lessened. Stars' scientific productivity is increased less during collaborations with firms in Japan as compared to the U.S. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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