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The views expressed in this article are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Economic Research Service.
The creation of spin-off companies is often promoted as a desirable mechanism for transferring knowledge and technologies from research organizations to the private sector for commercialization. In the promotion process, policymakers typically treat these “university” spin-offs like industry start-ups. However, when university spin-offs involve an employment transition by a researcher from the not-for-profit sector, the creation of a university spin-off is likely to impose a higher social cost than the creation of an industry start-up. To offset this higher social cost, university spin-offs must produce a larger stream of social benefits than industry start-ups, a performance premium. This paper outlines the arguments explaining why the social costs of entrepreneurship are likely to be higher for academic entrepreneurs, and empirically investigates the existence of a performance premium using a sample of German start-up companies. We find that university spin-offs exhibit a performance premium of 3.4 % points higher employment growth over industry start-ups. The analysis also shows that the performance premium varies across types of academic entrepreneurs and founders’ academic disciplines.
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- University spin-offs and the “performance premium”
Andrew A. Toole
- Springer US
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