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Institutional determinants of university spin-off quantity and quality: a longitudinal, multilevel, cross-country study

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  • Riccardo Fini

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Kun Fu

    () (Loughborough University)

  • Marius Tuft Mathisen

    () (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Einar Rasmussen

    () (Nord University Business School)

  • Mike Wright

    () (Imperial College London
    University of Ghent)

Abstract

Abstract The creation of spin-off firms from universities is seen as an important mechanism for the commercialization of research, and hence the overall contribution from universities to technological development and economic growth. Governments and universities are seeking to develop framework conditions that are conductive to spin-off creation. The most prevalent of such initiatives are legislative changes at national level and the establishment of technology transfer offices at university level. The effectiveness of such initiatives is debated, but empirical evidence is limited. In this paper, we analyze the full population of universities in Italy, Norway, and the UK; three countries adopting differing approaches to framework conditions, to test whether national- and university-level initiatives have an influence on the number of spin-offs created and the quality of these spin-offs. Building on institutional theory and using multilevel analysis, we find that changes in the institutional framework conditions at both national and university levels are conductive to the creation of more spin-offs, but that the increase in quantity is at the expense of the quality of these firms. Hence, the effect of such top–down changes in framework conditions on the economic impact from universities seems to be more symbolic than substantive.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Fini & Kun Fu & Marius Tuft Mathisen & Einar Rasmussen & Mike Wright, 2017. "Institutional determinants of university spin-off quantity and quality: a longitudinal, multilevel, cross-country study," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 361-391, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:48:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11187-016-9779-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-016-9779-9
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    4. Rajeev K. Goel & Devrim Göktepe-Hultén, 2018. "What drives academic patentees to bypass TTOs? Evidence from a large public research organisation," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 240-258, February.
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