Incentives and invention in universities

Saul Lach, Mark Schankerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We show that universities in the United States that provide stronger royalty incentives to faculty scientists generate greater license income, controlling for university characteristics. We use pre-sample data on university patenting to control for the potential endogeneity of royalty shares. Faculty responds to royalties both in the form of cash and research lab support, indicating both pecuniary and intrinsic research motivations. The impact of incentives is larger in private than in public universities, and we provide new survey evidence on the organization and objectives of university licensing offices to explain this difference. Royalty incentives work both by raising faculty effort and sorting scientists across universities. The primary impact of incentives is to increase the quality rather than the quantity of inventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-433
Number of pages31
JournalRAND Journal of Economics
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

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