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

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  • Nicola Lacetera

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- Sloan School)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Lacetera, 2003. "Incentives and spillovers in R&D activities: an agency-theoretic analysis of industry-university relations," Microeconomics 0312004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0312004
    Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 35
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of Science; Agency Theory; Industry-University Relations; Science Policy; R&D Management.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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