What type of enterprise forges close links with universities and government labs? Evidence from CIS2

Mohnen, Pierre (2002). What type of enterprise forges close links with universities and government labs? Evidence from CIS2. UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda. UNU-MERIT.

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  • Sub-type Working paper
    Author Mohnen, Pierre
    Title What type of enterprise forges close links with universities and government labs? Evidence from CIS2
    Series Title UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda
    Volume/Issue No. 8
    Publication Date 2002
    Publisher UNU-MERIT
    Language eng
    Abstract The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that allow firms to benefit from knowledge developed in universities and government labs or that drive them to collaborate with these institutions. A number of studies have examined this question from various perspectives: the characteristics of the knowledge being transferred, the complementarity between the assets of the two parties involved in the collaboration, and the organizational aspects facilitating collaboration and knowledge transfer between firms and universities/research labs. Santoro and Gopalakrishnan (2000) review this literature and examine in particular the organizational dimension of industry-university collaborations. Hall, Link and Scott (2000) conclude from their analysis of partnerships in the U.S. Advanced Technology Program that universities are invited to collaborate with industry (as a contractor or as a research partner) in projects that involve new science, unknown technological territory. We shall focus on the economic determinants of collaboration and knowledge-sourcing from universities and government labs, factors such as size, group membership, degree of innovativeness, growth and government support. Universities and government laboratories are more than private firms heavily involved in basic R&D because it has the character of a public good. Many studies, starting with Mansfield (1980), estimate a high rate of return on basic R&D. Adams (1990) estimates high spillover effects from academic R&D. Jaffe (1989) and Acs, Audretsch and Feldman (1992) even find that the geographical proximity to universities increases innovation, be it measured by the degree of patenting or by the number of new products introduced in the market. Henderson, Jaffe and Trajtenberg (1998) find that university patents are more important (cited over a few generations of citations) and more general (cited in a broad range of fields) than the average patent. There is thus a fair amount of empirical evidence showing that academic institutions produce substantial R&D spillovers. Firms should therefore be interested in forging links, perhaps even in collaborating with universities or government laboratories in order to capture timely new technological opportunities stemming from basic research. Indeed, proximity to basic science is reported by Cohen (1995) to be one of the main determinants of innovation. Governments in their quest to maximize the social return of innovation should also be concerned with fostering such links between private firms and basic research institutions. Not all firms, though, are ready to seek such links and to be able to benefit from them. It would be interesting to know what profile of firm it takes, for instance size, group affiliation, or the presence of research activities, to seek close contacts and collaborate with centers of basic research. Knowing that, governments could focus their attention to this type of firms to maximize the efficiency in the allocation of public R&D money. The CIS2 (the second European Community Innovation Surveys) database contains two types of information regarding industry links with universities and government labs. One is about the role of universities or government labs as sources of information for innovation, and the other is about collaboration with universities or government labs. Given the other information about enterprises that is contained in the innovation surveys, we try to uncover some of the factors that encourage firms to interact with universities or government labs.
    Copyright Year 2002
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Fri, 13 Dec 2013, 12:43:10 JST