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Patent Licensing and the Research University

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  • Richard A. Jensen
  • Marie C. Thursby

Abstract

We construct a dynamic model of university research that allows us to examine recent concerns that financial incentives associated with university patent licensing are detrimental to the traditional mission of US research universities. We assume a principal-agent framework in which the university administration is the principal and a faculty researcher is the agent. Whether or not the researcher remains in the university, and if so her choice of the amount of time to spend on basic and applied research, is complicated by the fact that she earns license income and prestige both inside and outside the university. Thus in contrast to usual principal agent models the participation constraint is endogenous. This, plus the fact that current research affects future knowledge stocks, allows us to show that it is far from obvious that licensing will damage basic research and education.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard A. Jensen & Marie C. Thursby, 2004. "Patent Licensing and the Research University," NBER Working Papers 10758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10758
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-132, March.
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    1. repec:spr:scient:v:95:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-013-0955-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Campa-Navarro, Juan Ignacio, 2015. "Actividad de patentamiento en el sector educativo superior en México, 1940-1970," eseconomía, Escuela Superior de Economía, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, vol. 0(42), pages 51-79, primer se.
    3. Arvanitis, Spyros & Kubli, Ursina & Woerter, Martin, 2008. "University-industry knowledge and technology transfer in Switzerland: What university scientists think about co-operation with private enterprises," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1865-1883, December.
    4. Puay Tang & Dagmara Weckowska & André Campos & Michael Hobday, 2010. "Managing Intellectual Property in Universities: Patents and the Protection Failure Problem," SPRU Working Paper Series 188, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    5. Isabel Maria Bodas Freitas & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2012. "Traditional Versus Heterodox Motives for Academic Patenting: Evidence from the Netherlands," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(8), pages 671-695, November.
    6. David B. Audretsch & Taylor Aldridge & Alexander Oettl, 2006. "The Knowledge Filter and Economic Growth: The Role of Scientist Entrepreneurship," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2006-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    7. Spyros Arvanitis & Ursina Kubli & Martin Woerter, 2006. "University-Industry Knowledge Interaction in Switzerland: What University Scientists Think about Co-operation with Private Enterprises," KOF Working papers 06-132, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    8. Thursby, Jerry G. & Thursby, Marie C., 2011. "Faculty participation in licensing: Implications for research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 20-29, February.
    9. Marie C. Thursby & Jerry Thursby & Swasti Gupta-Mukherjee, 2007. "Are There Real Effects of Licensing on Academic Research? A Life Cycle View," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Doherr, Thorsten & Hussinger, Katrin & Schliessler, Paula & Toole, Andrew A., 2015. "Individual versus institutional ownership of university-discovered inventions," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-007, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Baldini, Nicola, 2006. "The patenting universities: Problems and perils," MPRA Paper 853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Geuna, Aldo & Nesta, Lionel J.J., 2006. "University patenting and its effects on academic research: The emerging European evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 790-807, July.
    13. Calderini, Mario & Franzoni, Chiara & Vezzulli, Andrea, 2007. "If star scientists do not patent: The effect of productivity, basicness and impact on the decision to patent in the academic world," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 303-319, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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