Science and Innovation
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
- Chair: Danielle Li, Harvard Business School
University Innovation and the Professor's Privilege
AbstractNational policies take varied approaches to encouraging university-based innovation. This paper studies a natural experiment: the end of the “professor’s privilege” in Norway, where university researchers previously enjoyed full rights to their innovations. Upon the reform, Norway moved toward the typical U.S. model, where the university holds majority rights. Using comprehensive data on Norwegian workers, firms, and patents, we find a 50% decline in both entrepreneurship and patenting rates by university researchers after the reform. Quality measures for university start-ups and patents also decline. Applications to literatures on university technology transfer, innovation incentives, and taxes and entrepreneurship are considered.
Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time
AbstractWe study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields by examining entry rates into the fields of 452 academic life scientists who pass away while at the peak of their scientific abilities. Key to our analyses is a novel way to delineate boundaries around scientific fields by appealing solely to intellectual linkages between scientists and their publications, rather than collaboration or co-citation patterns. Consistent with previous research, the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases precipitously after the death of a star scientist (relative to control fields). In contrast, we find that the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases by 8% on average. These additional contributions are disproportionately likely to be highly cited. They are also more likely to be authored by scientists who were not previously active in the deceased superstar’s field. Overall, these results suggest that outsiders are reluctant to challenge leadership within a field when the star is alive and that a number of barriers may constrain entry even after she is gone. Intellectual, social, and resource barriers all impede entry, with outsiders only entering subfields that offer a less hostile landscape for the support and acceptance of “foreign” ideas.
Effects of Copyright on Science: Evidence From the World War II Book Republication Program
AbstractThis paper investigates how copyright – through its effects on price – can influence follow-on science. In 1942, the US Book Republication Program (BRP) issued temporary copyright licenses for enemy-owned science books to US publishers, enabling them to sell exact copies of BRP books at a reduced price. We investigate the effects of the BRP on US science, using citations to BRP books from new scientific publications as a proxy for follow-on science. Comparisons of citations to BRP books and Swiss books (which were not available for copyright licensing) reveal a significant differential increase in citations to BRP books after 1942. Intensity estimates imply that a 10-percent reduction in price triggered a 38 percent increase in citations. A simple model of knowledge creation predicts that the impact of book prices is greater for disciplines that depend more on human capital (math) compared with physical capital (chemistry). Citations data confirm this prediction, with a 3.5-fold differential increase. Geographic data on library holdings and the locations of citing authors suggest that reductions in price encouraged follow-on science by facilitating the diffusion of BPR books beyond the Northeastern United States. As libraries in the Midwest, South, and West gained access to BRP books, a new group of scientists began to use and extend knowledge from these books.
- O0 - General
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights