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Eric T. Stuen
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Three essays on the economics of science and innovationEric T. Stuen
University of Colorado at Boulder
This dissertation contributes to recent lines of inquiry into the determinants of and efficient conduct of science and the contribution of science to the broader economy. Each chapter is a detailed examination of a certain part of the conduct of science at universities in the United States and the broader contribution of science to the U.S. economy. The first essay, Academic Knowledge Spillovers Re-examined: A Look at the Effect of Exogenous Federal Funding is concerned with the measurement of local knowledge spillovers from Universities in the U.S. It addresses many of the problems that many researchers have had in measuring and isolating the effect of academic science on local innovation outcomes. It uses a panel dataset that is unique for its length and breadth as well as its novel use of publication and citation counts as measures of academic knowledge. Its first key finding is that of an effect of 0.20 patents per new scientific publication, after controlling for industrial R&D, metropolitan characteristics and year characteristics. Secondly, it offers compelling evidence of a causal effect of academic science: publishing influenced by Energy and Interior appropriation sub-committee membership (and hence plausibly un-influenced by industrial incentives) has a smaller but still measurably strong effect of 0.15 patents per scientific publication. Lastly, it shows that new PhD graduates are a significant channel by which new academic knowledge is transferred, particularly in terms of the quantity or number of discrete new ideas transferred. The second essay, Foreign PhD Students and Knowledge Creation at U.S. Universities: Evidence from Enrollment Fluctuations answers the following questions. What is the contribution of foreign students to research at US universities? How does their contribution compare with that of students from the US, and what implications do these results have for visa policy? How does the contribution of foreign students vary across different types of universities, and how did it vary during different decades? What factors affect the enrollment decision of PhD students? A model is developed in which students are not homogeneous inputs to knowledge production, but are matched according to department and student quality and barriers to enrollment. This model demonstrates that groups of students may have negative marginal productivities in partial equilibrium. A panel dataset is constructed at the detailed level of university department for 23 departments at 100 universities over 25 years, which includes publication and citation counts, counts of PhD student enrollments and department research spending. Complex instrumental variables which interact shocks to economic conditions in student regions of origin with department regional enrollment histories were constructed. The key findings include that both foreign and domestic graduate students are central inputs into knowledge creation, and that OLS estimates of the foreign student contribution are biased downwards. In the basic OLS analysis with department fixed effects and trends, an extra student is associated with an extra 0.17 publications every year and 5 extra citations, and the share of foreign students is negatively related to publications. In the basic instrumental variables analysis, an extra student is associated with an extra 0.44 publications and the foreign share, although not statistically significant, is positively related to publications. Results are also shown for different sets of instruments, early and late sample periods and for "elite" and "non-elite" universities. The third essay, The Effects of University Technology Licensing Contracts on Disclosure by Faculty Inventors develops a game-theoretic model of the interaction of university management with a faculty-inventor when a faculty-inventor is faced with the decision of whether to disclose a recent discovery to the university. The model demonstrates clearly that faculty-inventors are more likely to disclose when offered a higher share of rev nue and establishes a lower-bound on such a share. It also illustrates why, given the norms and incentives present in open-science, that there is no objective way to derive an optimum share of licensing revenue to be offered to an inventor.
Social sciences; Economics of science; Innovation; Knowledge spillovers; Knowledge transfer; Technical change; Economics; Labor economics; Studies; 0510:Labor economics; 0501:Economics
A. M. M. Mobarak, Keith E.
University of Colorado at Boulder
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