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The Determinants of Faculty Patenting Behavior: Demographics or Opportunities?

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  • Pierre Azoulay
  • Waverly Ding
  • Toby Stuart

Abstract

We examine the individual, contextual, and institutional determinants of faculty patenting behavior in a panel dataset spanning the careers of 3,884 academic life scientists. Using a combination of discrete time hazard rate models and fixed effects logistic models, we find that patenting events are preceded by a flurry of publications, even holding constant time-invariant scientific talent and the latent patentability of a scientist's research. Moreover, the magnitude of the effect of this flurry is influenced by context --- such as the presence of coauthors who patent and the patent stock of the scientist's university. Whereas previous research emphasized that academic patenters are more accomplished on average than their non-patenting counterparts, our findings suggest that patenting behavior is also a function of scientific opportunities. This result has important implications for the public policy debate surrounding academic patenting.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Azoulay & Waverly Ding & Toby Stuart, 2005. "The Determinants of Faculty Patenting Behavior: Demographics or Opportunities?," NBER Working Papers 11348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11348
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Jaffe, Adam B & Lerner, Josh, 2001. "Reinventing Public R&D: Patent Policy and the Commercialization of National Laboratory Technologies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 167-198, Spring.
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    11. Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
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    13. Paula Stephan & Jennifer Ma, 2005. "The Increased Frequency and Duration of the Postdoctorate Career Stage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 71-75, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Maskus, Keith & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Stuen, Eric T., 2010. "Skilled Immigration and Innovation: Evidence from Enrollment Fluctuations in U.S. Doctoral Programs," CEPR Discussion Papers 7709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. 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.
    4. Sidonia von Ledebur, 2009. "Patent Productivity of German Professors over the Life Cycle," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2009-03, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    5. Heisey, Paul W. & Day-Rubenstein, Kelly A. & King, John L., 2006. "Government Patenting And Technology Transfer," Economic Research Report 33597, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2009. "Exploring the Relationship Between Scientist Human Capital and Firm Performance: The Case of Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurs in the SBIR Program," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 101-114, January.
    7. Pierre Azoulay & Waverly Ding & Toby Stuart, 2006. "The Impact of Academic Patenting on the Rate, Quality, and Direction of (Public) Research Output," NBER Working Papers 11917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Réjean Landry & Nabil Amara & Malek Saïhi, 2007. "Patenting and spin-off creation by Canadian researchers in engineering and life sciences," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 217-249, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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