Discussion paper

DP8731 Innovation, Spillovers and Venture Capital Contracts

Innovative start-ups and venture capitalists are highly clustered, benefiting from localized spillovers: Silicon Valley is perhaps the best example. There is also substantial geographical variation in venture capital contracts: California contracts are more 'incomplete'. This paper explores the economic link between these observations. In the presence of significant spillovers, it becomes optimal for an innovative start-up and its financier to adopt contracts with fewer contingencies: these contracts maximize their ability to extract (part of) the surplus they generate through positive spillovers. This relaxes ex-ante financing constraints and makes it possible to induce higher innovative effort.


Dessí, R (2012), ‘DP8731 Innovation, Spillovers and Venture Capital Contracts‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8731. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8731