Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation
Scientific freedom and openness are hallmarks of academia: relative to their counterparts in industry, academics maintain discretion over their research agenda and allow others to build on their discoveries. This paper examines the relationship between openness and freedom, building on recent models emphasizing that, from an economic perspective, freedom is the granting of control rights to researchers. Within this framework, openness of upstream research does not simply encourage higher levels of downstream exploitation. It also raises the incentives for additional upstream research by encouraging the establishment of entirely new research directions. In other words, within academia, restrictions on scientific openness (such as those created by formal intellectual property (IP)) may limit the diversity and experimentation of basic research itself. We test this hypothesis by examining a "natural experiment" in openness within the academic community: NIH agreements during the late 1990s that circumscribed IP restrictions for academics regarding certain genetically engineered mice. Using a sample of engineered mice that are linked to specific scientific papers (some affected by the NIH agreements and some not), we implement a differences-in-differences estimator to evaluate how the level and type of follow-on research using these mice changes after the NIH-induced increase in openness. We find a significant increase in the level of follow-on research. Moreover, this increase is driven by a substantial increase in the rate of exploration of more diverse research paths. Overall, our findings highlight a neglected cost of IP: reductions in the diversity of experimentation that follows from a single idea.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2009|
|Publication status:||published as Fiona Murray & Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Julian Kolev & Scott Stern, 2016. "Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol 8(1), pages 212-252.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995.
"General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
- Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Trajtenberg, M. & Bresnahan, T.F., 1992. "General Purpose Technologies: "Engines of Growth"," Papers 16-92, Tel Aviv.
- Murray, Fiona, 2002. "Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1389-1403, December.
- Rebecca Henderson & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1998. "Universities As A Source Of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis Of University Patenting, 1965-1988," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 119-127, February.
- Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," NBER Working Papers 5068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Henderson, R. & Jaffe, A.B.: Tratenberg, M., 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," Papers 09-95, Tel Aviv.
- Owen-Smith, Jason & Powell, Walter W., 2003. "The expanding role of university patenting in the life sciences: assessing the importance of experience and connectivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1695-1711, October.
- Murray, Fiona & Stern, Scott, 2007. "Do formal intellectual property rights hinder the free flow of scientific knowledge?: An empirical test of the anti-commons hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 648-687, August.
- Fiona E. Murray & Scott Stern, 2007. "Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge?: An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey L. Furman & Scott Stern, 2006. "Climbing Atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research," NBER Working Papers 12523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14819. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.