How Do Institutions of Higher Education Affect Local Invention? Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges

107 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 29 May 2019

See all articles by Michael Andrews

Michael Andrews

National Bureau of Economic Research

Date Written: May 14, 2019

Abstract

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 45% more patents per year. Controlling for county population explains most of the observed increase. Linking the patent record to a novel dataset of college yearbooks reveals that only 12% of patents in a college's county come from individuals directly affiliated with that college as either alumni or faculty. College counties do not appear to attract especially skilled migrants. I find statistically indistinguishable differences in patenting between locations that establish colleges and locations that establish other types of institutions, as well as between colleges that are more and less focused on technical fields.

Keywords: Innovation, Patents, Economic History, Education, Colleges

JEL Classification: I, N, O, R

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Michael, How Do Institutions of Higher Education Affect Local Invention? Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges (May 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3072565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3072565

Michael Andrews (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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