Fall 2015 I&E Research Seminar Series

Thomas Åstebro, HEC Paris

“Academic Entrepreneurship: Bayh-Dole versus the ‘Professor’s Privilege’”

October 6, 2015
4:30 – 6:00 PM
Duke I&E Bullpen, 215 Morris Street


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Should society encourage scientific researchers at universities to become entrepreneurs? Using data on U.S. university-employed scientists with a Ph.D. in STEM disciplines leaving their university to become entrepreneurs during 1993-2006 and similar data from Sweden, we show that owning your idea outright (the “Professor’s Privilege”) rather than sharing ownership with your university employer (the Bayh-Dole regime) is strongly positively associated with the rate of academic entrepreneurship but not with apparent economic gain for the entrepreneur. Further analysis shows that in both countries there is too much entry into entrepreneurship, and selection from the bottom of the ability distribution among scientists. Targeted policies aimed at screening entrepreneurial decisions by younger, tenure-track academics may therefore produce more benefits for society than general incentives.

Benjamin Pugsley, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

“Understanding the 30-year decline in the Startup Rate: a General Equilibrium Approach”

October 27, 2015
4:30 – 6:00 PM
Duke I&E Bullpen, 215 Morris Street


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This paper studies the causes of the declining startup rate over the past three decades. The stability of firms’ lifecycle dynamics throughout this period along with the widespread nature of the declining startup rate place strong restrictions on potential explanations. We show that declines in the growth rate of the labor force, which peaks in the late 1970s, explain an important share of the startup rate decline while leaving incumbent dynamics unaffected. Using cross-sectional demographic variation we estimate a quantitatively and statistically significant labor supply growth elasticity of the startup rate, which is robust to alternative explanations. Finally we show that the equilibrium response to a permanent demographic shift in a standard Hopenhayn (1992) setting matches the steady decline in the U.S. startup rate over the last 30 years without additional frictions. Our findings suggest that the decline in the growth rate of the working age population reinforced by steadying female labor force participation through their general equilibrium effects on firm dynamics are an important driver of the decline in firm entry.

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