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ILR Review

Academic Entrepreneurship: The Bayh–Dole Act versus the Professor’s Privilege

Åstebro, Thomas, Serguey Braguinsky, Pontus Braunerhjelm och Anders Broström (2019). ”Academic Entrepreneurship: The Bayh–Dole Act versus the Professor’s Privilege”. ILR Review 72(5), 1094–1122.

Thomas Åstebro, Serguey Braguinsky, Pontus Braunerhjelm, Anders Broström

Is the Bayh-Dole intellectual property regime associated with more and better academic entrepreneurship than the Professor’s Privilege regime? The authors examine data on US PhDs in the natural sciences, engineering, and medical fields who became entrepreneurs in 1993–2006 and compare this to similar data from Sweden. They find that, in both countries, those with an academic background have lower rates of entry into entrepreneurship than do those with a non-academic background. The relative rate of academics starting entrepreneurial firms is slightly lower in the United States than in Sweden. Moreover, the mean economic gains from becoming an entrepreneur are negative, both for PhDs originating in academia and for non-academic settings in both countries. Analysis indicates that selection into entrepreneurship occurs from the lower part of the ability distribution among academics. The results suggest that policies supporting entrepreneurial decisions by younger, tenure-track academics may be more effective than are general incentives to increase academic entrepreneurship.