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Knowledge spillovers in biotechnology: sources and incentives


  • David B. Audretsch

    () (Indiana University, Institute for Development Strategies, SPEA, Bloomington, IN 47405-2100, USA)

  • Paula E. Stephan

    (School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, 6A 30303, USA)


This paper sheds light on the questions, Why does knowledge spill over? and How does knowledge spill over? The answer to these questions we suggest lies in the incentives confronting scientists to appropriate the expected value of their knowledge considered in the context of their path-dependent career trajectories. In particular, we focus on the ability of scientists to appropriate the value of knowledge embedded in their human capital along with the incentive structure influencing if and how scientists choose to commercialize their knowledge. We conclude that the spillover of knowledge from the source creating it, such as a university, research institute, or industrial corporation, to a new-firm startup facilitates the appropriation of knowledge for the individual scientist(s) but not necessarily for the organization creating that new knowledge in the first place.

Suggested Citation

  • David B. Audretsch & Paula E. Stephan, 1999. "Knowledge spillovers in biotechnology: sources and incentives," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 97-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:9:y:1999:i:1:p:97-107

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Biotechnology ; Knowledge spillovers ; Science ; Entrepreneurship ; Startups;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights


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