NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Determinants of Faculty Patenting Behavior: Demographics or Opportunities?

Pierre Azoulay, Waverly Ding, Toby Stuart

NBER Working Paper No. 11348
Issued in May 2005, Revised in July 2006
NBER Program(s):PR

We examine the individual, contextual, and institutional determinants of faculty patenting behavior in a panel dataset spanning the careers of 3,884 academic life scientists. Using a combination of discrete time hazard rate models and fixed effects logistic models, we find that patenting events are preceded by a flurry of publications, even holding constant time-invariant scientific talent and the latent patentability of a scientist's research. Moreover, the magnitude of the effect of this flurry is influenced by context --- such as the presence of coauthors who patent and the patent stock of the scientist's university. Whereas previous research emphasized that academic patenters are more accomplished on average than their non-patenting counterparts, our findings suggest that patenting behavior is also a function of scientific opportunities. This result has important implications for the public policy debate surrounding academic patenting.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11348

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