How Do Institutions of Higher Education Affect Local Invention? Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges
68 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 26 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 19, 2018
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 reasons as good as random assignment. Using the runner-up counties as counterfactuals, I find that establishing a new college causes 38% more patents per year. Linking the patent record to a novel dataset of college yearbooks reveals that only 5% of patents in a college's county come from individuals directly affiliated with that college as either alumni or faculty. Establishing other types of institutions increase patenting indistinguishably from colleges.
Keywords: Innovation, Patents, Economic History, Education, Colleges
JEL Classification: I, N, O, R
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation