The Impact of Money on Science: Evidence from Unexpected Ncaa


Universities perform a rising share of R&D in developed countries and increasingly rely on internal rather than government or private sector sources to fund these activities. This paper uses unexpected college football outcomes to exogenously vary school-funded research support expenditures. It then examines how these expenditures affect scientific productivity at US universities and whether the pool of knowledge created by academic research generates valuable innovation at the margin. We find large effects on publishing and patenting that sharply exceed estimates from prior work. Using data on technology licensing revenues, we find 4-5% upfront returns and 9% total returns on investment. JEL: O31, O32, D24, I23. ∗We are grateful for early input from Juan Alcacer, Thomas Covert, James Lee, Josh Lerner, Charlie Nathanson, Ariel Pakes, Kyle Welch, and Erick Zwick as well as comments by Alberto Galasso, Meg Blume-Kohout, Ben Jones, Megan MacGarvie, Scott Stern, Chad Syverson, and participants at the NBER Summer Institute on Innovation, Cirano Conference on Industrial Organization, Chicago Booth Microeconomics Workshop, and Chicago Harris Public Policy and Economics Workshop. For helpful discussions on the research, funding, and publishing process in science and engineering fields, we thank Sharon Allen, Patrick Fitzgerald, Susan Gomes, Mick Sawka, and Beth Thomson at Harvard University, Park Hays at Sandia National Laboratories, Marty Holmes at the Texas A&M Association of Former Students, Roxanne Moore at Georgia Tech, Carolyn Porter at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, Frank Rotondo at the Institute for Defense Analyses, and Mario Trujillo at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. †Address: Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA 02163, ‡Corresponding author address: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago IL 60637,

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@inproceedings{OUTCOMES2016TheIO, title={The Impact of Money on Science: Evidence from Unexpected Ncaa}, author={FOOTBALL OUTCOMES and Haris Tabakovic and Thomas Wollmann and Kyle Welch}, year={2016} }