Impact of prestigious-STEM Education of corporate board members on innovation effort: Evidence from India

Rituparna Kaushik, Sourabh Bikas Paul & Danilo Spinola


This article studies the innovation effort in India through the education of corporate board members obtained from prestigious STEM higher education institutes known as the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs). Our primary aim is to enquire whether firms with director/s having an IIT-Bachelors’ degree in their corporate boards positively impact the firm’s innovation effort. To answer this question, we build a novel dataset merging two micro-level databases: CMIE-Prowess (firm innovation) and NSE-Infobase (board of directors' characteristics). Based on the sample of 6151 Indian firms for 2006-2015, we find that overall, having board members with IIT-Bachelor’s qualifications do enhance innovation efforts to some extent. However, the positive effect on innovation effort becomes more robust when the director has a research degree over their IIT- Bachelors’ degree. The paper highlights that when it comes to innovation efforts, the dominant narrative of relying solely on IIT-STEM elite undergraduate education (IIT-Bachelor’s) is insufficient and should also focus on and prioritize research education.

Keywords: Innovation Effort, R&D, STEM Education, Corporate Boards

JEL Classification: O31, G30, I23

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