Commercializing Knowledge: University Science, Knowledge Capture, and Firm Performance in Biotechnology

44 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2001 Last revised: 18 Nov 2014

See all articles by Lynne G. Zucker

Lynne G. Zucker

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael R. Darby

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Global Economics and Management (GEM) Area; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeff S. Armstrong

Analysis Group, Inc.

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

Commercializing knowledge involves transfer from discovering scientists to those who will develop it commercially. New codes and formulae describing discoveries develop slowly - with little incentive if value is low and many competing opportunities if high. Hence new knowledge remains naturally excludable and appropriable. Team production allows more knowledge capture of tacit, complex discoveries by firm scientists. A robust indicator of a firm's tacit knowledge capture (and strong predictor of its success) is the number of research articles written jointly by firm scientists and discovering, 'star' scientists, nearly all working at top universities. An operationally attractive generalization of our star measure - collaborative research articles between firm scientists and top research university scientists - replicates the impact on firm success. In panel analyses, publications by firm scientists with stars and/or top-112 university scientists increase the number and citation rate for firm patents. Further, star articles increase these rates significantly more than other top-112 university scientists' articles. Cross-sectional analyses of products and employment show a similar pattern of positive effects on firms' success of collaborations with stars or top university scientists, but estimates of differential effects are non-robust due to multicollinearity. Venture capital funding has significant, usually positive effects on firm success.

Suggested Citation

Zucker, Lynne G. and Darby, Michael R. and Armstrong, Jeff S., Commercializing Knowledge: University Science, Knowledge Capture, and Firm Performance in Biotechnology (October 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8499. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=285619

Lynne G. Zucker (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361 Departments of Sociology and Policy Studies 2201 Hershey mc 155107
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States
310-825-3227 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Michael R. Darby

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Global Economics and Management (GEM) Area ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Box 951481
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
310-825-4180 (Phone)
310-454-2748 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeff S. Armstrong

Analysis Group, Inc. ( email )

1747 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Suite 250
Washington,, DC 20006
United States

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