The Growing Importance of Universities for Patenting and Innovation

49 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2021

See all articles by Todd Schoellman

Todd Schoellman

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Vladimir Smirnyagin

Yale University

Date Written: August 25, 2021

Abstract

We document a growing link between university research and development expenditures and patenting activity in the surrounding metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) since 1980. The gap in patents per capita between MSAs with and without a research university has doubled, while the elasticity of patents per capita with respect to university R&D has tripled. We establish that this trend reflects growing knowledge spillovers from university R&D by showing that it survives controlling for MSA and university characteristics; that it holds by research/patent field; and that it is stronger in areas where universities do more basic R&D. We show that a portion of this change can be linked to the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, which was designed in part to improve knowledge flows between universities and firms. The growing importance of teams for leading scientific research and reduction in corporate basic research likely also play a role.

Suggested Citation

Schoellman, Todd and Smirnyagin, Vladimir, The Growing Importance of Universities for Patenting and Innovation (August 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3911375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3911375

Todd Schoellman

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States

Vladimir Smirnyagin (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT
United States

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