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Regional Innovation Effects of Applied Research Institutions


  • Curdin Pfister

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

  • Miriam Rinawi

    () (Swiss National Bank)

  • Dietmar Harhoff

    (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)


We analyze the effect of applied research institutions on regional innovation activity. Exploiting a policy reform that creates tertiary education institutions conducting applied research, the Universities of Applied Sciences (UASs) in Switzerland, we apply difference-in-differences estimations to investigate the effect on innovation quantity and quality. Findings show a 7.7 to 13 percent increase in regional patenting activity (i.e., quantity), and a 1.3 to 11 percent increase in patent family size, and the number of granted patents, claims, and citations per patent (i.e., quality). Findings are robust to various model specifications, suggesting that applied research taught in UASs boosts regional innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Curdin Pfister & Miriam Rinawi & Dietmar Harhoff & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2016. "Regional Innovation Effects of Applied Research Institutions," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0117, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Jan 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0117

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Lehnert & Curdin Pfister & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2017. "Firms' Changes in R&D Personnel After the Introduction of Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0141, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Sep 2018.

    More about this item


    Innovation; Applied R&D; Higher Education; Patents; Difference-in-Differences;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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