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University Entrepreneurship and Professor Privilege

  • Erika Farnstrand Damsgaard
  • Marie C. Thursby

This paper analyzes how institutional differences affect university entrepreneurship. We focus on ownership of faculty inventions, and compare two institutional regimes; the US and Sweden. In the US, the Bayh Dole Act gives universities the right to own inventions from publicly funded research, whereas in Sweden, the professor privilege gives the university faculty this right. We develop a theoretical model and examine the effects of institutional differences on modes of commercialization; entrepreneurship or licenses to established firms, as well as on probabilities of successful commercialization. We find that the US system is less conducive to entrepreneurship than the Swedish system if established firms have some advantage over faculty startups, and that on average the probability of successful commercialization is somewhat higher in the US. We also use the model to perform four policy experiments as suggested by recent policy debates in both countries.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17980.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17980
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  1. Goldfarb, Brent & Henrekson, Magnus, 2003. "Bottom-up versus top-down policies towards the commercialization of university intellectual property," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 639-658, April.
  2. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Thursby, Jerry & Thursby, Marie, 2011. "Inventor moral hazard in university licensing: The role of contracts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 94-104, February.
  3. Jerry Thursby & Marie Thursby, 2010. "University Licensing: Harnessing or Tarnishing Faculty Research?," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 159-189 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Henrekson, Magnus & Rosenberg, Nathan, 2000. "Designing Efficient Institutions for Science-Based Entrepreneurship: Lessons from the US and Sweden," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 410, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Macho-Stadler Inés & Pérez-Castrillo David & Veugelers Reinhilde, 2007. "Designing Contracts for University Spin-offs," Working Papers 201071, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  6. Bart Verspagen, 2006. "University research, intellectual property rights and European innovation systems," Working Papers 06-05, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Mar 2006.
  7. repec:dgr:tuecis:0605 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Braunerhjelm, Pontus & Svensson, Roger, 2007. "The inventor's role: was Schumpeter right?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 78, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  9. Goldfarb, Brent & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001. "Bottom-Up vs. Top-Down Policies towards the Commercialization of University Intellectual Property," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 463, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 26 May 2002.
  10. Robert A. Lowe & Arvids A. Ziedonis, 2006. "Overoptimism and the Performance of Entrepreneurial Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 173-186, February.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert Lowe, 2006. "Who Develops a University Invention? The Impact of Tacit Knowledge and Licensing Policies," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 415-429, 07.
  13. Frank T. Rothaermel & Shanti D. Agung & Lin Jiang, 2007. "University entrepreneurship: a taxonomy of the literature," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 691-791, August.
  14. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
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