Finding the Endless Frontier: Lessons from the Life Sciences Innovation System for Technology Policy

50 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2013

See all articles by Iain M. Cockburn

Iain M. Cockburn

Boston University Questrom School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Scott Stern

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

This paper considers the drivers of the structure and evolution of the life sciences innovation system, a remarkable success story for public support of science. The growth and performance of this system reflect the interaction between abundant scientific and technological opportunity, a reasonably effective and adaptive institutional and property rights framework, and a reservoir of unmet demand for therapies and technologies that significantly enhance human health care. Examining the evolution and dynamism of the life sciences innovation system, we emphasize three central foundations: a long-term and relatively stable commitment of financial and human resources by both the public sector and for-profit organizations, market and non-market institutions that encourage competition on the basis of innovation across multiple dimensions, and the promise of significant financial rewards for private sector innovators leveraging publicly funded scientific discoveries.

Comments on this paper can be found at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2208680

Suggested Citation

Cockburn, Iain M. and Stern, Scott, Finding the Endless Frontier: Lessons from the Life Sciences Innovation System for Technology Policy. Capitalism and Society, Vol. 5, Issue 1, Article 1, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2208693

Iain M. Cockburn (Contact Author)

Boston University Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States
617-353-3775 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Scott Stern

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-3053 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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