Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 271: Public Policy for Academic Entrepreneurship: A review and critical discussion

Christian Sandström (), Karl Wennberg (), Martin Wallin () and Yulia Zherlygina
Additional contact information
Christian Sandström: The Ratio Institute and Chalmers University of Technology, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Karl Wennberg: The Ratio Institute and Linköping University, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Martin Wallin: Chalmers University of Technology, Postal: Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
Yulia Zherlygina: The Ratio institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This article provides a critical review and discussion of current literature on technology transfer and academic entrepreneurship. Drawing upon the notion of robustness in social systems and public choice theory, we review, code, and taxonomize 166 studies in order to assess the likelihood that these initiatives will generate innovation and economic growth. We find that academic entrepreneurship initiatives are characterized by conflicting goals, weak incentive structures for universities and academics, and are contextually dependent on several factors, e.g. strong vs. weak universities. Our results therefore suggest that there are critical boundary conditions that are unlikely to be fulfilled when universities and governments enact policies to support academic entrepreneurship. Policymakers therefore need to be cautious in the potential design of such mechanisms. We discuss how technology transfer from universities might be better achieved through alternative mechanisms such as contract research, licensing, consulting and increased labor mobility among researchers.

Keywords: Academic Entrepreneurship; literature review; policy; robustness; public choice theory

JEL-codes: M13; O30; O40

53 pages, May 4, 2016

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