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Abstract:

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CEP Discussion Paper
The Impact of Private Ownership, Incentives and Local Development Objectives on University Technology Transfer Performance
Sharon Belenzon and Mark Schankerman September 2007
Paper No' CEPDP0779:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O31; O32; O33; F23


Tags: incentives; performance pay; universities; technology transfer; licensing; local development

We study the impact of private ownership, incentive pay and local development objectives on university licensing performance. We develop and test a simple contracting model of technology licensing offices, using new survey information together with panel data on U.S. universities for 1995-99. We find that private universities are much more likely to adopt incentive pay than public ones, but ownership does not affect licensing performance conditional on the use of incentive pay. Adopting incentive pay is associated with about 30-40 percent more income per license. Universities with strong local development objectives generate about 30 percent less income per license, but are more likely to license to local (in-state) startup companies. In addition, we show that government constraints on university licensing activity are .costly. in terms of foregone license income and the creation of start-up companies. These results are robust to controls for observed and unobserved heterogeneity.