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Academic entrepreneurship, patents, and spin-offs: critical issues and lessons for Europe


  • Chiara Franzoni

    (A. Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, USA)

  • Francesco Lissoni

    (Università di Brescia and CESPRI-Università Commerciale Bocconi, Milano, Italy)


The paper proposes a definition of “academic entrepreneur” which draws from draws from the economics, history, and sociology of science. Academic entrepreneurs are scientists with a brilliant scientific record, who build their careers through discipline-building, the creation and of new labs and teams, and an appetite for the economic resources necessary to pursue those goals. Long-standing institutional features of national university systems explain to what extent commercial activities may or may not help academic entrepreneurs to progress in their careers. European policies for technology transfer should address these features, rather than aiming straight at university patenting and firm creation.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara Franzoni & Francesco Lissoni, 2006. "Academic entrepreneurship, patents, and spin-offs: critical issues and lessons for Europe," KITeS Working Papers 180, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Sep 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp180

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    4. David Greenaway & Robert Hine & Chris Milner, 1994. "Country-specific factors and the pattern of horizontal and vertical intra-industry trade in the UK," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 77-100, March.
    5. Greenaway, David & Torstensson, Johan, 2000. "Economic Geography, Comparative Advantage and Trade within Industries: Evidence from the OECD," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 15, pages 260-280.
    6. Peter Hooper & Karen H. Johnson & Jaime R. Marquez, 1998. "Trade elasticities for G-7 countries," International Finance Discussion Papers 609, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
    8. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    9. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pluvia Zuniga, 2011. "The State of Patenting at Research Institutions in Developing Countries: Policy Approaches and Practices," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 04, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division, revised Dec 2011.
    2. Aurora A. C. Teixeira & João Nogueira, 2016. "Academic Entrepreneurship In Life Sciences: The Case Of A Moderate Innovator Country," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 21(01), pages 1-21, March.
    3. repec:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9482-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Guido Buenstorf, 2006. "Is Academic Entrepreneurship Good or Bad for Science? Empirical Evidence from the Max Planck Society," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-17, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    5. Donato Iacobucci & Alessandra Micozzi, 2012. "How to evaluate the impact of academic spin-offs on regional development," Working Papers 1204, c.MET-05 - Centro Interuniversitario di Economia Applicata alle Politiche per L'industria, lo Sviluppo locale e l'Internazionalizzazione.
    6. Niranjan Chipalkatti & Jonathan P. Doh & Meenakshi Rishi, 2011. "Institutional quality, knowledge spillovers and entrepreneurship," International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(4), pages 307-329.
    7. Catarina Maia & João Claro, 2013. "The role of a Proof of Concept Center in a university ecosystem: an exploratory study," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 38(5), pages 641-650, October.
    8. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2012. "The nexus between science and industry: evidence from faculty inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(5), pages 755-776, October.
    9. Lissoni, Francesco, 2010. "Academic inventors as brokers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 843-857, September.
    10. repec:wip:wpaper:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Abreu, Maria & Grinevich, Vadim, 2013. "The nature of academic entrepreneurship in the UK: Widening the focus on entrepreneurial activities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 408-422.

    More about this item


    Academic entrepreneurship; Technology transfer;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • 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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