The Relevance of the Economic Environment to the Development and Growth of Academic Spin-Offs. A Panel Approach

  •  Ivano De Turi    
  •  Margaret Antonicelli    


The importance of academic research ("AR") to economic growth is widely accepted but quantification of incremental impacts, and their attribution to any one country's expenditures, is difficult. Yet quantitative justification of government AR funding is highly desirable. We therefore attempt to quantify one impact which can be directly and causally attributed to one country's funding: spin-off companies.

Although there is great interest in the new knowledge economy, less favoured regions seem permanently disadvantaged because they lack a critical mass of knowledge capital to initiate accumulation, growth and economic development processes. This is a problem for policy-makers seeking to promote economic growth and territorial cohesion in such regions. This paper seeks to develop four empirical models of how Academic spin-off companies can improve their economic performances. The economic benefits that such companies bring are explored, to identify those elements which can potentially upgrade regional economies through knowledge accumulation, which are termed ‘building up territorial knowledge pools’.

We argue that the impacts of valid and ongoing policies in support of the Third Mission represent incremental contributions to the ROI of academic spin-offs, much greater (also on a updated base). The impacts therefore provide a quantitative justification for public investment, allowing much more important (but less quantifiable) long-term benefits be considered as a "free" bonus.

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