Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation

41 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2006

See all articles by Ajay Agrawal

Ajay Agrawal

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Avi Goldfarb

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

We report evidence indicating that Bitnet adoption facilitated increased research collaboration between US universities. However, not all institutions benefited equally. Using panel data from seven top engineering journals, Bitnet connection records, and a variety of institution ranking data, we find that medium-ranked universities were the primary beneficiaries; they benefited largely by increasing their collaboration with top-ranked schools. Furthermore, we find that the magnitude of this effect is greatest for co-located pairs. These results suggest that the most salient effect of lowering communication costs may have been to facilitate gains from trade through the specialization of research tasks. Thus, the advent of Bitnet - and likely subsequent versions, including the Internet - seems to have increased the role of second-tier universities in the national innovation system as producers of new, high-quality knowledge.

Keywords: collaboration, Internet, communication technology, productivity, university research, specialization

JEL Classification: O33, R11, Z13

Suggested Citation

Agrawal, Ajay and Goldfarb, Avi, Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation (December 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=877926 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.877926

Ajay Agrawal (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Avi Goldfarb

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada
416-946-8604 (Phone)
416-978-5433 (Fax)

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