Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 222: Are Public Research Spin-Offs More Innovative?

Andreas Stephan ()
Additional contact information
Andreas Stephan: Ratio & JIBBS, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden, &, Jönköping University, SE-55111 Jönköping, Sweden. , Tel:+4636101760

Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to analyse whether research spin-offs, that is, spinoffs from either public research institutes or universities, have greater innovation capabilities than comparable knowledge-intensive firms created in other ways. Using a sample of about 2,800 firms from highly innovative sectors, propensity score matching is used to create a sample group of control firms that is comparable to the group of spin-offs. The paper provides evidence that the 121 research spin-offs investigated have more patent applications and more radical product innovations, on average, compared to similar firms. The results also show that research spin-offs’ superior innovation performance can be explained by their high level of research cooperation and by location factors. An urban region location and proximity to the parent institution are found to be conducive to innovation productivity. The paper also finds evidence that research spin-offs are more successful in attracting support from public innovation support programs in comparison to their peers.

Keywords: Spin-Offs; Innovation Performance; Propensity Score Matching; Location Factors; Cooperation; Public R&D Subsidies

JEL-codes: M13; O18

30 pages, October 8, 2013

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