Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2018/6: University invention and the abolishment of the professor’s privilege in Finland

Olof Ejermo () and Hannes Toivanen ()
Additional contact information
Olof Ejermo: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Hannes Toivanen: Teqmine, Postal: Finland

Abstract: In 2007 Finland changed ownership rights to inventions from its employees – "the professor’s privilege" – to universities. We investigate how this change affected academic patenting using new data on inventors and patenting in Finland for the period 1995- 2010. Matched sample panel data regressions using difference-in-differences show that patenting by individuals dropped by at least 29 percent after 2007. Unlike other countries studied, in Finland the reform was known before implementation. Adding the period after announcement to the reform period increases the drop in academic patenting to 46 percent. Our and others’ results call into question whether the European reform of the professor’s privilege were good innovation policy.

Keywords: academic patenting; Finland; professor’s privilege; university ownership

JEL-codes: I23; I28; O31; O32; O34; O38

41 pages, March 2, 2018

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