Who is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing

27 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2000 Last revised: 29 Oct 2015

See all articles by Jerry G. Thursby

Jerry G. Thursby

Emory University - Department of Economics; Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Marie C. Thursby

Georgia Institute of Technology - Strategic Management Area; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2000

Abstract

Historically, commercial use of university research has been viewed in terms of spillovers. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in technology transfer through licensing as universities attempt to appropriate the returns from faculty research. This change has prompted concerns regarding the source of this growth - specifically, whether it suggests a change in the nature of university research. We develop an intermediate input model to examine the extent to which the growth in licensing is due to the productivity observable inputs or driven by a change in the propensity of faculty and administrators to engage in commercializing university research. We model licensing as a three stage process, each involving multiple inputs. Nonparametric programming techniques are applied to survey data from 65 universities to calculate total factor productivity (TFP) growth in each state. To examine the sources of TFP growth, the productivity analysis is augmented by survey evidence from business who license-in university inventions. Results suggest that increased licensing is due primarily to an increased willingness of faculty and administrators to license and increased business reliance on external R&D rather than a shift in faculty research.

Suggested Citation

Thursby, Jerry G. and Thursby, Marie C., Who is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing (May 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7718. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=232103

Jerry G. Thursby

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Marie C. Thursby (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Strategic Management Area ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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