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The Scientific Productivity of Academic Inventors: New Evidence From Italian Data


  • Stefano Breschi

    (CESPRI, Università Bocconi, Milano)

  • Francesco Lissoni

    (CESPRI, Università Bocconi, Milano and University of Brescia, Italy)

  • Fabio Montobbio

    (CESPRI, Università Bocconi, Milano and Università of Insubria, Varese, Italy)


We investigate the scientific productivity of Italian academic inventors, namely academic researchers designated as inventors on patent applications to the European Patent Office, 1978-1999. We use a new longitudinal data set comprising 299 academic inventors, and as many matching controls (non-patenting researchers). We enquire whether a trade-off between publishing and patenting, or a trade-off between basic and applied research exists, on the basis of the number and quality of publications. We find no trace of such a trade- off, and find instead a strong and positive relationship between patenting and publishing, even in basic science. Our results suggest however that it is not patenting per se that boosts scientific productivity, but the advantage derived from solid links with industry, as the strongest correlation between publishing and patenting activity is found when patents are owned by business partners, rather than individual scientists or their universities.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni & Fabio Montobbio, 2005. "The Scientific Productivity of Academic Inventors: New Evidence From Italian Data," KITeS Working Papers 168, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised May 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp168

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Scientific productivity; Academic inventors; University patenting;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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