Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation

44 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2005 Last revised: 30 Oct 2014

See all articles by Philippe Aghion

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mathias Dewatripont

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

We develop a model that clarifies the respective advantages and disadvantages of academic and private-sector research. Our model assumes full protection of intellectual property rights at all stages of the development process, and hence does not rely on lack of appropriability or spillovers to generate a rationale for academic research. Instead, we focus on control-rights considerations, and argue that the fundamental tradeoff between academia and the private sector is one of creative control versus focus. By serving as a precommitment mechanism that allows scientists to freely pursue their own interests, academia can be indispensable for early-stage research. At the same time, the private sector%u2019s ability to direct scientists towards higher-payoff activities makes it more attractive for later-stage research.

Suggested Citation

Aghion, Philippe and Dewatripont, Mathias and Stein, Jeremy C., Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation (August 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11542. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=779952

Philippe Aghion (Contact Author)

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mathias Dewatripont

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 4217/4 (Phone)
+32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-6455 (Phone)
617-496-7352 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/stein/stein.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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