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Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation

Philippe Aghion, Mathias Dewatripont, Julian Kolev, Fiona Murray and Scott Stern
Additional contact information
Mathias Dewatripont: ULB - Université Libre de Bruxelles [Bruxelles]
Julian Kolev: Department of Economics, Harvard University
Fiona Murray: MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scott Stern: MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Abstract: This paper argues that openness, by lowering costs to access existing research, can enhance both early and late stage innovation through greater exploration of novel research directions. We examine a natural experiment in openness: late-1990s NIH agreements that reduced academics' access costs regarding certain genetically engineered mice. Implementing difference-in-differences estimators, we find that increased openness encourages entry by new researchers and exploration of more diverse research paths, and does not reduce the creation of new genetically engineered mice. Our findings highlight a neglected cost of strong intellectual property restrictions: lower levels of exploration leading to reduced diversity of research output.

Keywords: Innovation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-02
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01496928
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Published in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, 2016, 8 (1), pp.212-252. 〈10.1257/pol.20140062〉

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Journal Article: Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Of mice and academics: Examining the effect of openness on innovation (2016)
Working Paper: Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation (2009) Downloads
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