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Incentives and Invention in Universities

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  • Saul Lach
  • Mark Schankerman

Abstract

We show that economic incentives affect the number and commercial value of inventions generated in universities. Using panel data for 102 U.S. universities during the period 1991-1999, we find that universities which give higher royalty shares to academic scientists generate more inventions and higher license income, controlling for other factors including university size, quality, research funding and technology licensing inputs. The incentive effects are much larger in private universities than in public ones. For private institutions there is a Laffer curve effect: raising the inventor's royalty share increases the license income retained by the university. The incentive effect appears to work both through the level of effort and sorting of academic scientists.

Suggested Citation

  • Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2003. "Incentives and Invention in Universities," NBER Working Papers 9727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9727
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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