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Ivory Tower Versus Corporate Lab: An Empirical Study of Basic Research and Appropriability

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  • Manuel Trajtenberg
  • Rebecca Henderson
  • Adam Jaffe

Abstract

We explore the use of patent citations to measure the "basicness" and appropriability of inventions. We propose that the basicness of research underlying an invention can be characterized by the nature of the previous patents cited by an invention; that the basicness of research outcomes relates to the subsequent patents that cite an invention; and that the fraction of citing patents that are assigned to the same organization as the original invention is a measure of appropriabiity. We test the validity of these presumptions by comparing the value of our measures for university and corporate patents, and find that many of the measures do conform to our a priori belief that university research and research outcomes are more basic and harder to appropriate than those of corporations. We also find some evidence that basicness of outcomes is correlated with basicness of research, and that appropriability is lower for basic outcomes.

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  • Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe, 1992. "Ivory Tower Versus Corporate Lab: An Empirical Study of Basic Research and Appropriability," NBER Working Papers 4146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4146
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    Cited by:

    1. Boppart, Timo & Staub, Kevin, 2012. "Online accessibility of academic articles and the diversity of economics," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62040, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. 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.
    3. Lach, Saul, 1995. "Patents and productivity growth at the industry level: A first look," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 101-108, July.
    4. Bosetti, Valentina & Carraro, Carlo & Massetti, Emanuele & Tavoni, Massimo, 2008. "International energy R&D spillovers and the economics of greenhouse gas atmospheric stabilization," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2912-2929, November.
    5. Heide Fier & Andreas Pyka, 2014. "Against the one-way-street: analyzing knowledge transfer from industry to science," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 219-246, April.
    6. Martin, Fernand, 1998. "The economic impact of Canadian university R&D," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 677-687, November.
    7. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1738-1754 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Thorwarth, Susanne, 2012. "Productivity effects of basic research in low-tech and high-tech industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1555-1564.
    9. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1996. "Bibliography, Index," NBER Chapters,in: Buying the Best: Cost Escalation in Elite Higher Education, pages 285-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    11. Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1995. "Research and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
    13. Ricardo J. Caballero & Adam B. Jaffe, 1993. "How High are the Giants' Shoulders: An Empirical Assessment of Knowledge Spillovers and Creative Destruction in a Model of Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 15-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Gilsing, Victor A. & Cloodt, Myriam & Bertrand–Cloodt, Danielle, 2016. "What makes you more central? Antecedents of changes in betweenness-centrality in technology-based alliance networks," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 209-221.
    15. Hart, Rob, 2013. "Directed technological change and factor shares," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 77-80.
    16. Kul B. Luintel & Mosahid Khan, 2017. "Ideas production and international knowledge spillovers: digging deeper into emerging countries," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 35, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    17. Luintel, Kul B. & Khan, Mosahid, 2017. "Ideas production and international knowledge spillovers: Digging deeper into emerging countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1738-1754.
    18. Stolpe, Michael, 2002. "Determinants of knowledge diffusion as evidenced in patent data: the case of liquid crystal display technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1181-1198, September.
    19. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1994. "Intellectual Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 4653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Lybbert, Travis J. & Zolas, Nikolas J., 2014. "Getting patents and economic data to speak to each other: An ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ approach for joint analyses of patenting and economic activity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 530-542.
    21. Kyriakos Drivas & Claire Economidou, 2013. "Government sponsorship and nature of patenting activity of US universities and corporations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(8), pages 775-806, November.
    22. Kul B Luintel & Mosahid Khan, 2017. "Ideas Production and International Knowledge Spillovers: Digging Deeper into Emerging Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 6737, CESifo Group Munich.
    23. Schoenmakers, Wilfred & Duysters, Geert, 2010. "The technological origins of radical inventions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1051-1059, October.

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