The contribution of economic growth and university knowledge to the technological quality of business patents
This paper is inspired by two opposing hypotheses about the relationship between innovation and business cycles. According to the first hypothesis, innovation is cyclical with firms choosing to lower their innovation efforts during economic downturns. The second hypothesis claims that innovation is counter-cyclical and recessions are a fertile environment for firms to innovate. While these two theories have been extensively tested for innovation, little is known about how the business cycle affects the quality of patented technologies, despite the fact that patent quality matters for firm performance, firm reputation for technological innovation, and the entire patent system. In this paper, we use data from 30,376 Spanish business patents for the period 1996–2019 to examine the relationship between economic growth, university knowledge, and the quality of business patents. We address two empirical questions: Does faster economic growth increase the quality of business patents, or is there a countercyclical effect? Does economic growth mediate the effect of university knowledge acquisition on the quality of business patents? Our findings show that economic growth has a counter-cyclical effect on the quality of business patents, which supports Schumpeter’s ideas about the relationship between creative destruction and economic growth. In expansions, business patents have less technological impact than in downturns. However, economic growth has a moderately positive effect on university knowledge acquisition to produce business patents with greater impact.
Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n
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Manuel Acosta is Professor of economics at the Department of Economic of the University of Cadiz (Spain). His main research areas are innovation and technological change. His papers have been published in journals such as Research Policy, Economic of Innovation and New Technology, Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice, The Annals of Regional Science, European Planning Studies, Regional Studies, Small Business Economics, etc., and at a variety of international conferences. Now he is involved in various research projects in the fields of technological transfer and diffusion of technology, using patents as indicators and econometric analysis tools.
Orcid profile: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8052-7181
Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro is a Senior Researcher at INGENIO (CSIC-UPV). He develops research in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies. His main topics include university-industry interaction, university inventions, regional absorptive capacity and the local impact of university research. He publishes in journals such as The Journal of Technology Transfer, Research Evaluation, Research Policy or Scientometrics. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9598-0376
Daniel Coronado is Professor of economics at the Department of Economics of the University of Cadiz (Spain). He specialises in economics of innovation and port economics. Now he is involved in several projects and contracts related to knowledge transfer and economic impact. His papers have been published in journals such as Research Policy, Journal of Technology Transfer, Economic of Innovation and New Technology, Journal of Transport Geography, International Journal of Transport Economics, the Annals of Regional Science, Regional Studies, Small Business Economics, etc., and at a variety of international conferences.
Orcid profile: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0716-9135
Esther Ferrándiz is Associate Professor of economics, and a faculty member of the Department of Economics at the University of Cádiz (Spain). Her main research areas are innovation and technological change. Her papers have been published in journals such as Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Business Research, The Journal of Technology Transfer, Defence and Peace Economics, Scientometrics, European Planning Studies, etc.
Orcid profile: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5607-8040