Intermediation in Innovation
The paper offers a new theoretical framework to examine the role of intermediaries between creators and users of new inventions. We find that uncertainty about the profitability of investing in new inventions generates a basis for intermediation. An intermediary may provide an opportunity to economize on a critical component of efficient investment decisions - the expertise to sort `profitable' from `unprofitable' inventions. Our findings may help explain the surge in university patenting and licensing since the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. The study also identifies several limitations to the potential efficiency of intermediation in innovation.
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