Privatization Of Knowledge: Did The U.S. Get It Right? (New Version)
To foster innovation and growth should basic research be publicly or privately funded? This paper studies the impact of the gradual shift in the U.S. patent system towards the patentability and commercialization of the basic R&D undertaken by universities. The authors see this movement as making universities becoming responsive to "Market" forces. Prior to 1980, universities undertook research using an exogenous stock of researchers that were motivated by "Curiosity." After 1980, universities patent their research and behave as private firms. This move, in a context of two-stage inventions (basic and applied research) has an a priori ambiguous effect on innovation and welfare. They build a Schumpeterian model and match it to the data to assess this important turning point.