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Managing Licensing in a Market for Technology

  • Ashish Arora
  • Andrea Fosfuri
  • Thomas Roende

Over the last decade, companies have paid greater attention to the management of their intellectual assets. We build a model that helps understand how licensing activity should be organized within large corporations. More specifically, we compare decentralization--where the business unit using the technology makes licensing decisions--to centralized licensing. The business unit has superior information about licensing opportunities but may not have the appropriate incentives because its rewards depend upon product market performance. If licensing is decentralized, the business unit forgoes valuable licensing opportunities since the rewards for licensing are (optimally) weaker than those for product market profits. This distortion is stronger when production-based incentives are more powerful, making centralization more attractive. Growth of technology markets favors centralization and drives higher licensing rates. Our model conforms to the existing evidence that reports heterogeneity across firms in both licensing propensity and organization of licensing.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18203.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18203
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  1. Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralization, Hierarchies, and Incentives: A Mechanism Design Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 367-390, June.
  2. Ashish Arora & Sharon Belenzon & Luis A. Rios, 2011. "The Organization of R&D in American Corporations: The Determinants and Consequences of Decentralization," NBER Working Papers 17013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2010. "Ideas for rent: an overview of markets for technology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 775-803, June.
  12. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
  13. Kamien, Morton I & Tauman, Yair, 2002. "Patent Licensing: The Inside Story," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(1), pages 7-15, January.
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  15. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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  17. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2002. " General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 315-45, December.
  18. Ashish Arora & Marco Ceccagnoli, 2006. "Patent Protection, Complementary Assets, and Firms' Incentives for Technology Licensing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 293-308, February.
  19. Gans, Joshua S. & Stern, Scott, 2003. "The product market and the market for "ideas": commercialization strategies for technology entrepreneurs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 333-350, February.
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