Papers or Patents: Channels of University Effect on Regional Innovation
This paper analyzes empirically the channels through which university research affects industry innovation. We examine how the opening of new science, medicine and engineering departments in Italy during 1985-2000 affected regional innovation systems. We find that creation of a new university department increased regional innovation activity 3-4 years later. On average, an opening of a new department has led to a twenty percent change in the number of patents led by regional firms. Given that this effect occurs within the first half decade of the appearance of a new department, it cannot be ascribed to improvements in the quality and quantity of graduates. At the same time, traditional measures of academic research activity -- publications and patents -- can explain at most 50 percent of this effect, of which the lion's share is due to publications.
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