The Impact of Academic Patenting on the Rate, Quality, and Direction of (Public) Research Output

Pierre Azoulay, Waverly Ding, Toby Stuart

NBER Working Paper No. 11917
Issued in January 2006
NBER Program(s):   PR

We examine the influence of faculty patenting activity on the rate, quality, and content of public research outputs in a panel dataset spanning the careers of 3,862 academic life scientists. Using inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to account for the dynamics of self-selection into patenting, we find that patenting has a positive effect on the rate of publication of journal articles, but no effect on the quality of these publications. Using several measures of the "patentability" of the content of research papers, we also find that patenters may be shifting their research focus to questions of commercial interest. We conclude that the often-voiced concern that patenting in academe has a nefarious effect on public research output is, at least in its simplest form, misplaced.

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This paper was revised on June 29, 2006

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11917

Published: Pierre Azoulay & Waverly Ding & Toby Stuart, 2009. "THE IMPACT OF ACADEMIC PATENTING ON THE RATE, QUALITY AND DIRECTION OF (PUBLIC) RESEARCH OUTPUT -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 57(4), pages 637-676, December.

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