This paper analyzes empirically the channels through which university
research affects industry innovation. We examine how the opening of new
science, medicine and engineering departments in Italy during 1985-2000
affected regional innovation systems. We find that creation of a new
university department increased regional innovation activity 3-4 years
later. On average, an opening of a new department in a region has led to
a ten percent change in the number of patents filed by regional firms.
Given that this effect occurs within the first half decade of the
appearance of a new department, it cannot be ascribed to improvements in
the quality and quantity of graduates. At the same time, traditional
measures of academic research activity can explain only around 30
percent of this effect.
UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872