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Incentives and spillovers in R&D activities: an agency-theoretic analysis of industry-university relations

  • Nicola Lacetera

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- Sloan School)

In this paper, I study industry-university relations in a principal- agent framework. Following the existing literature, these relations are interpreted in two ways: (1) as occurring through spillovers of knowledge among different groups of researchers, working for different institutional settings; or (2) as more formal interactions, through the possibility, for a scientist, to directly respond to incentives defined by the different communities she may belong to. I formalize these two configurations in a unified framework. I account for: (1) the inherent difficulty in measuring the impact of scientific activities; and (2) the multiplicity of activities that scientists perform. I combine multi-task agency models with distorted performance measures and common agency models. My model identifies several types of incongruities between an agent's actions and the desired outcomes. These incongruities derive also from the strategic interaction among the principals. I also identify some potentially distortionary behavioral effects of the presence of spillovers.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0312004.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 16 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0312004
Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 35
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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