How Do Institutions of Higher Education Affect Local Invention? Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges
121 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 30 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 28, 2020
I use data on site selection decisions for a subset of U.S. colleges to identify "runner-up" locations that were strongly considered to become the sites of new colleges but were ultimately not chosen for as-good-as-random reasons. When using runner-up counties as counterfactuals, establishing a college causes 48% more patents per year. Linking patents to novel college yearbook data reveal that only 5% of patents in a college's county came from alumni or faculty of that college. I find no difference in patenting between establishing colleges and establishing other types of institutions, nor between colleges with different focuses on technical fields.
Keywords: Innovation, Patents, Economic History, Education, Colleges
JEL Classification: I, N, O, R
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation