DP12704 Taste for Science, Academic Boundary Spanning and Inventive Performance of Scientists and Engineers in Industry

Author(s): Sam Arts, Reinhilde Veugelers
Publication Date: February 2018
Keyword(s): industry-science links, taste for science
JEL(s): O31
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12704

Matching survey data on Ph.D. scientists and engineers currently working in an R&D job in industry with their publications and patents, we study the relationship between their individual traits and the nature of their inventive performance. We find that individuals with a strong taste for science, i.e. motivated by intellectual challenge, independence, and contribution to society, create more novel and impactful patents. Academic boundary spanning, proxied by scientific publications co-authored with academic scientists, mediates the effect of taste for science, but only partly and only on impact-weighted inventive output. For novelty of inventive output, we find no mediation through academic boundary spanning. Individuals with a strong taste for salary collaborate less with academic scientists, fully mediating the negative effect of taste for salary on impact-weighted inventive output.