Academic Entrepreneurship

Managerial and Decision Economics, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2008 Last revised: 8 Jun 2014

See all articles by Nicola Lacetera

Nicola Lacetera

University of Toronto - Strategic Management; University of Toronto at Mississauga - Department of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: February 5, 2008


This paper proposes a model of the choice to commercialize research and of the amount and type of pre-commercial research to perform, of the timing of commercialization by an academic scientist, and analyzes the returns and costs of these choices. The behavior and performance of the academic scientist is compared to that of an industrial researcher. Unlike the industrial researcher, the academic scientist receives direct benefit from performing research, e.g. in the form of publication and peer recognition. However, the type of research that is more effective in reducing commercialization costs may not be the one generating the highest scientific benefit. It is shown that, while in some cases the academic scientist is more reluctant to commercialize research, in other cases she may commercialize faster than a solely profit-seeking agent would - and perform less research. Academic and non-academic scientists also select different projects, and this may explain the good performance of academic entrepreneurs found in several empirical studies. The model offers a unified framework to interpret the mixed evidence on the success of, and the arguments in favor and against, the involvement of universities into commercial activities. Managerial and public policy implications are also examined.

Keywords: Academic Entrepreneurship, R&D Organization and Strategy, Science and Technology Policy

JEL Classification: I23, L21, L31, M13, O31

Suggested Citation

Lacetera, Nicola, Academic Entrepreneurship (February 5, 2008). Managerial and Decision Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Nicola Lacetera (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Strategic Management ( email )


University of Toronto at Mississauga - Department of Management


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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