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Is there a trade-off between academic research and faculty entrepreneurship? Evidence from U.S. NIH supported biomedical researchers

  • Czarnitzki, Dirk
  • Toole, Andrew A.

Is there a trade-off of scholarly research productivity when faculty members found or join for-profit firms? This paper offers an empirical examination of this question for a subpopulation of biomedical academic scientists who received research funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this study, we are able to distinguish between permanent versus temporary employment transitions by entrepreneurial faculty members and examine how their journal article publication rates change using individual-level panel data. We find that the biomedical scientists who eventually choose to found or join a for-profit firm were more productive during their careers in academe than a randomly selected control group of their NIH peers. When they pursue entrepreneurship in the private sector, however, their scholarly productivity falls. Those entrepreneurial faculty members who return to academe are not as productive as they were before their entrepreneurial experience in terms of journal publications.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 09-022.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:09022
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  1. Michelle Gittelman & Bruce Kogut, 2003. "Does Good Science Lead to Valuable Knowledge? Biotechnology Firms and the Evolutionary Logic of Citation Patterns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 366-382, April.
  2. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Glänzel, Wolfgang & Hussinger, Katrin, 2007. "Heterogeneity of Patenting Activity and Its Implications for Scientific Research," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-028, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Toole, Andrew A., 2007. "Exploring the relationship between scientist human capital and firm performance: The case of biomedical academic entrepreneurs in the SBIR program," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-011, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Turner, Laure, 2006. "Identifying Age, Cohort and Period Effects in Scientific Research Productivity - Discussion and Illustration Using Simulated and Actual Data on French Physicists," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2005. "Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurship Through the SBIR Program," NBER Working Papers 11450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Buenstorf, Guido, 2009. "Is commercialization good or bad for science? Individual-level evidence from the Max Planck Society," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 281-292, March.
  7. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
  8. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 2007. "Virtuous circles in science and commerce," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(3), pages 445-470, 08.
  9. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
  10. Robert Lowe & Claudia Gonzalez-Brambila, 2007. "Faculty Entrepreneurs and Research Productivity," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 173-194, June.
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