Institutional Determinants of University Spin-Off Quantity and Quality: A Longitudinal, Multi-Level, Cross-Country Study

Small Business Economics, 48(2), 361-391

51 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2016 Last revised: 10 Jul 2018

See all articles by Riccardo Fini

Riccardo Fini

University of Bologna - Department of Management; Imperial College London

Kun Fu

Imperial College

Marius Tuft Mathisen

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Einar Rasmussen

Nord Universtiy

Mike Wright

Imperial College London

Date Written: June 18, 2017

Abstract

The creation of spin-off firms from universities is seen as an important mechanism for the commercialization of research, and hence the overall contribution from universities to technological development and economic growth. Governments and universities are seeking to develop framework conditions that are conductive to spin-off creation. The most prevalent of such initiatives are legislative changes at national level and the establishment of Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) at university level. The effectiveness of such initiatives is debated, but empirical evidence is limited. In this paper we analyze the full population of universities in Italy, Norway, and the UK; three countries adopting differing approaches to framework conditions, to test whether national and university level initiatives have an influence on the number of spin-offs created and the quality of these spin-offs. Building on institutional theory and using multi-level analysis, we find that changes in the institutional framework conditions at both national and university level are conductive to the creation of more spin-offs, but that the increase in quantity is at the expense of the quality of these firms. Hence, the effect of such top-down changes in framework conditions on the economic impact from universities seems to be more symbolic than substantive.

Keywords: commercialization of research, institutional framework, technology transfer offices, university spin-offs

JEL Classification: M13

Suggested Citation

Fini, Riccardo and Fu, Kun and Mathisen, Marius Tuft and Rasmussen, Einar and Wright, Mike, Institutional Determinants of University Spin-Off Quantity and Quality: A Longitudinal, Multi-Level, Cross-Country Study (June 18, 2017). Small Business Economics, 48(2), 361-391. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2797678 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2797678

Riccardo Fini (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Terracini 28
Bologna, 40131
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.unibo.it/faculty/riccardo.fini

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ, DC
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/r.fini

Kun Fu

Imperial College ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Marius Tuft Mathisen

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) ( email )

Trondheim NO-7491
Norway

Einar Rasmussen

Nord Universtiy ( email )

Post Office Box 1490
Bodø, Nordland 8049
Norway

Mike Wright

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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