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Agrawal, Ajay

Works: 36 works in 161 publications in 1 language and 962 library holdings
Genres: History 
Roles: Author
Classifications: HB1, 330.072
Publication Timeline
Publications about Ajay Agrawal
Publications by Ajay Agrawal
Most widely held works by Ajay Agrawal
Gone but not forgotten : labor flows, knowledge spillovers, and enduring social capital by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
11 editions published in 2003 in English and held by 46 libraries worldwide
It is well known that patent citations occur disproportionately between patents issued to inventors living in the same location, which has been taken as evidence of geographically localized knowledge spillovers. In this study, we find that patent citations also occur disproportionately often in locations where the cited inventor was living prior to being issued the patent in question, which we interpret as evidence of a significant role played by social capital in promoting knowledge spillovers. We first develop a model of purposeful investments in social capital by co-located inventors that incorporates the effect of expected mobility. Using patent and citation data, we then test two hypotheses motivated by the model. First, we find strong evidence in support of the enduring social capital hypothesis; social ties that facilitate knowledge transfer persist even after formerly co-located individuals are separated. Consistent with the model, we find that individuals with higher ex ante mobility are somewhat less likely to invest in location-specific social relationships, but the pattern of spillovers implied by patent citations is consistent with them investing in those social relationships that survive subsequent geographic separation. Second, we find strong evidence that the social ties associated with co-location are particularly important for facilitating knowledge spillovers across technology fields or communities of practice where alternative mechanisms for transferring knowledge are more costly
University research, industrial R & D, and the anchor tenant hypothesis by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
4 editions published in 2002 in English and held by 36 libraries worldwide
Abstract: We examine geographic concentration, agglomeration, and co-location of university research and industrial R & D in three technological areas: medical imaging, neural networks, and signal processing. Using data on scientific publications and patents as indicators of university research and industrial R & D, we find strong evidence of geographic concentration in both activities at the level of MSAs. While evidence for agglomeration (in the sense of excess' concentration relative to the size of MSAs and the size distribution of research labs) of research in these fields is mixed, we do find strong evidence of co-location of upstream and downstream activity. We view such co-located vertically connected activities as constituents of a local innovation system, ' and these appear to vary markedly in their ability to convert local academic research into local commercial innovation. We develop and test the hypothesis that the presence of a large, local, R & D-intensive firm an anchor tenant' enhances the productivity of local innovation systems by making local university research more likely to be absorbed by and to stimulate local industrial R & D. Presence of anchor tenant firms may be an important factor in stimulating both the demand and supply sides of local markets for innovation and may be an important channel for transmission of spillovers. While our empirical results are preliminary, they indicate that anchor tenant technology firms may be an economically important aspect of the institutional structure of local economies
Birds of a feather - better together? : exploring the optimal spatial distribution of ethnic inventors by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
9 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 26 libraries worldwide
"We examine how the spatial and social proximity of inventors affects knowledge flows, focusing especially on how the two forms of proximity interact. We develop a knowledge flow production function (KFPF) as a flexible tool for modeling access to knowledge and show that the optimal spatial concentration of socially proximate inventors in a city or nation depends on whether spatial and social proximity are complements or substitutes in facilitating knowledge flows. We employ patent citation data, using same-MSA and co-ethnicity as proxies for spatial and social proximity, respectively, to estimate the key KFPF parameters. Although co-location and co-ethnicity both predict knowledge flows, the marginal benefit of co-location is significantly less for co-ethnic inventors. These results imply that dispersion of socially proximate individuals is optimal from the perspectives of the city and the economy. In contrast, for socially proximate individuals themselves, spatial concentration is preferred - and the only stable equilibrium"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site
University patenting : estimating the diminishing breadth of knowledge diffusion and consumption by Carlos Rosell( Book )
9 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 25 libraries worldwide
The rate of university patenting increased dramatically during the 1980s. To what extent did the knowledge flow patterns associated with public sector inventions change as university administrators and faculty seemingly became more commercially oriented? Using a Herfindahl-type measure of patent assignee concentration and employing a difference-in-differences estimation to compare university to firm patents across two time periods, we find that the university diffusion premium (the degree to which knowledge flows from patented university inventions are more widely distributed across assignees than those of firms) declined by over half during the 1980s. In addition, we find that the university diversity premium (the degree to which knowledge inflows used to develop patented university inventions are drawn from a less concentrated set of prior art holders than those used by firms) also declined by over half. Moreover, in both cases the estimated increase in knowledge flow concentration is largely driven by universities experienced in patenting, suggesting these phenomena are not likely to dissipate with experience
Restructuring research : communication costs and the democratization of university innovation by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
9 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 25 libraries worldwide
We report evidence indicating that Bitnet adoption facilitated increased research collaboration between US universities. However, not all institutions benefited equally. Using panel data from seven top engineering journals, Bitnet connection records, and a variety of institution ranking data, we find that medium-ranked universities were the primary beneficiaries; they benefited largely by increasing their collaboration with top-ranked schools. Furthermore, we find that the magnitude of this effect was greatest for co-located pairs. These results suggest that the most salient effect of lowering communication costs may have been to facilitate gains from trade through the specialization of research tasks. Thus, the advent of Bitnet -- and likely subsequent versions, including the Internet -- seems to have increased the role of second-tier universities in the national innovation system as producers of new, high-quality knowledge
Not invented here? : innovation in company towns by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
8 editions published between 2009 and 2010 in English and held by 15 libraries worldwide
We examine variation in the concentration of inventive activity across 72 of North America's most highly innovative locations. In 12 of these areas, innovation is particularly concentrated in a single, large firm; we refer to such locations as "company towns.'' We find that inventors employed by large firms in these locations tend to draw disproportionately from their firm's own prior inventions (as measured by citations to their own prior patents) relative to what would be expected given the underlying distribution of innovative activity across all inventing firms in a particular technology field. Furthermore, we find such inventors are more likely to build upon the same prior inventions year after year. However, smaller firms in company towns do not exhibit this myopic behavior; they draw upon prior inventions as broadly as their small-firm counterparts in more diverse locations. In addition, we find that inventions by large firms in company towns have less impact than those produced elsewhere, although the difference is modest, and that the impact is disproportionately appropriated by the inventing firms themselves. Finally, the geographic scope of impact realized by company town inventions is narrower, whether produced by large or small firms
Brain drain or brain bank? : the impact of skilled emigration on poor-country innovation by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
9 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 13 libraries worldwide
The development prospects of a poor country depend in part on its capacity for innovation. The productivity of its innovators depends in turn on their access to technological knowledge. The emigration of highly skilled individuals weakens local knowledge networks (brain drain), but may also help remaining innovators access valuable knowledge accumulated abroad (brain bank). We develop a model in which the size of the optimal innovator diaspora depends on the competing strengths of co-location and diaspora effects for accessing knowledge. Then, using patent citation data associated with inventions from India, we estimate the key co-location and diaspora parameters; the net effect of innovator emigration is to harm domestic knowledge access, on average. However, knowledge access conferred by the diaspora is particularly valuable in the production of India's most important inventions as measured by citations received. Thus, our findings imply that the optimal emigration level may depend, at least partly, on the relative value resulting from the most cited compared to average inventions
Why are some regions more innovative than others? : the role of firm size diversity by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
10 editions published between 2012 and 2013 in English and held by 12 libraries worldwide
Large labs may spawn spin-outs caused by innovations deemed unrelated to the firm's overall business. Small labs generate demand for specialized services that lower entry costs for others. We develop a theoretical framework to study the interplay of these two localized externalities and their impact on regional innovation. We examine MSA-level patent data during the period 1975-2000 and find that innovation output is higher where large and small labs coexist. The finding is robust to across-region as well as within-region analysis, IV analysis, and the effect is stronger in certain subsamples consistent with our explanation but not the plausible alternatives -- National Bureau of Economic Research web site
Does information help or hinder job applicants from less developed countries in online markets? by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 8 libraries worldwide
Online markets reduce certain transaction costs related to global outsourcing. We focus on the role of verified work experience information in affecting online hiring decisions. Prior research shows that additional information about job applicants may disproportionately help or hinder disadvantaged populations. Using data from a major online contract labor platform, we find that contractors from less developed countries (LDCs) are disadvantaged relative to those from developed countries (DCs) in terms of their likelihood of being hired. However, we also find that although verified experience information increases the likelihood of being hired for all applicants, this effect is disproportionately large for LDC contractors. The LDC experience premium applies to other outcomes as well (wage bids, obtaining an interview, being shortlisted). Moreover, it is stronger for experienced employers, suggesting that learning is required to interpret this information. Finally, other platform tools (e.g., monitoring) partially substitute for the LDC experience premium; this provides additional support for the interpretation that the effect is due to information about experience rather than skills acquired from experience. We discuss implications for the geography of production and public policy
Some simple economics of crowdfunding by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 7 libraries worldwide
It is not surprising that the financing of early-stage creative projects and ventures is typically geographically localized since these types of funding decisions are usually predicated on personal relationships and due diligence requiring face-to-face interactions in response to high levels of risk, uncertainty, and information asymmetry. So, to economists, the recent rise of crowdfunding - raising capital from many people through an online platform - which offers little opportunity for careful due diligence and involves not only friends and family but also many strangers from near and far, is initially startling. On the eve of launching equity-based crowdfunding, a new market for early-stage finance in the U.S., we provide a preliminary exploration of its underlying economics. We highlight the extent to which economic theory, in particular transaction costs, reputation, and market design, can explain the rise of non-equity crowdfunding and offer a framework for speculating on how equity-based crowdfunding may unfold. We conclude by articulating open questions related to how crowdfunding may affect social welfare and the rate and direction of innovation -- National Bureau of Economic Research web site
The geography of crowdfunding by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
7 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 7 libraries worldwide
Perhaps the most striking feature of "crowdfunding" is the broad geographic dispersion of investors in small, early-stage projects. This contrasts with existing theories that predict entrepreneurs and investors will be co-located due to distance-sensitive costs. We examine a crowdfunding setting that connects artist-entrepreneurs with investors over the internet for financing musical projects. The average distance between artists and investors is about 3,000 miles, suggesting a reduced role for spatial proximity. Still, distance does play a role. Within a single round of financing, local investors invest relatively early, and they appear less responsive to decisions by other investors. We show this geography effect is driven by investors who likely have a personal connection with the artist-entrepreneur ("family and friends"). Although the online platform seems to eliminate most distance-related economic frictions such as monitoring progress, providing input, and gathering information, it does not eliminate social-related frictions
Recruiting for ideas : how firms exploit the prior inventions of new hires by Jasjit Singh( Book )
7 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 7 libraries worldwide
When firms recruit inventors, they acquire not only the use of their skills but also enhanced access to their stock of ideas. But do hiring firms actually increase their use of the new recruits' prior inventions? Our estimates suggest they do, quite significantly in fact, by approximately 202% on average. However, this does not necessarily reflect widespread "learning-by-hiring." In fact, we estimate that a recruit's exploitation of her own prior ideas accounts for almost half of the above effect. Furthermore, although one might expect the recruit's role to diminish rapidly as her tacit knowledge diffuses across her new firm, our estimates indicate that her importance is surprisingly persistent over time. We base these findings on an empirical strategy that exploits the variation over time in hiring firms' citations to the recruits' pre-move patents. Specifically, we employ a difference-in-differences approach to compare pre-move versus post-move citation rates for the recruits' prior patents and the corresponding matched-pair control patents. Our methodology has three benefits compared to previous studies that also examine the link between labor mobility and knowledge flow: 1) it does not suffer from the upward bias inherent in the conventional cross-sectional comparison, 2) it generates results that are robust to a more stringently matched control sample, and 3) it enables a temporal examination of knowledge flow patterns
Commercializing university inventions : are Canadians less productive than Americans? by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published between 2000 and 2012 in English and held by 6 libraries worldwide
The objective of this paper is to offer insights into the transfer of research from Canadian universities to industry. The paper is organized into four sections. The first section offers insight into technology transfer trends over the past 10 years. First focusing on 10 major research universities in Canada, the author examines how certain commercialization metrics have changed over time, and then examines two particular universities for comparison. The second section assess a sample of 160 Canadian and American universities regarding technology transfer. The third section is a literature review on the economics of university technology transfer, focusing on a summary of potential determinants of technology transfer productivity that might vary systematically across countries. The final section is a comment on the demand side of the transfer equation of the business section vis à vis universities and research institutions.--Includes text from document
Digitization and the Contract Labor Market a Research Agenda by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 5 libraries worldwide
Online contract labor globalizes traditionally local labor markets, with platforms that enable employers, most of whom are in high-income countries, to more easily outsource tasks to contractors, primarily located in low-income countries. This market is growing rapidly; we provide descriptive statistics from one of the leading platforms where the number of hours worked increased 55% from 2011 to 2012, with the 2012 total wage bill just over $360 million. We outline three lines of inquiry in this market setting that are central to the broader digitization research agenda: 1) How will the digitization of this market influence the distribution of economic activity (geographic distribution of work, income distribution, distribution of work across firm boundaries)?; 2) What is the magnitude and nature of information frictions in these digital market settings as reflected by user responses to market design features (allocation of visibility, investments in human capital acquisition, machine-aided recommendations)?; 3) How will the digitization of this market affect social welfare (increased efficiency in matching, production?)? We draw upon economic theory as well as evidence from empirical research on online contract labor markets and other related settings to motivate and contextualize this research agenda
Does Knowledge Accumulation Increase the Returns to Collaboration? by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 4 libraries worldwide
We conduct the first empirical test of the knowledge burden hypothesis, one of several theories advanced to explain increasing team sizes in science. For identification, we exploit the collapse of the USSR as an exogenous shock to the knowledge frontier causing a sudden release of previously hidden research. We report evidence that team size increased disproportionately in Soviet-rich relative to -poor subfields of theoretical mathematics after 1990. Furthermore, consistent with the hypothesized mechanism, scholars in Soviet-rich subfields disproportionately increased citations to Soviet prior art and became increasingly specialized
Deals Not Done Sources of Failure in the Market for Ideas by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 4 libraries worldwide
Using novel survey data on technology licensing, we report the first empirical evidence linking the three main sources of failure emphasized in the market design literature (lack of market thickness, congestion, lack of market safety) to deal outcomes. We disaggregate the licensing process into three stages and find that although lack of market thickness and deal failure are correlated in the first stage, they are not in the latter stages, underscoring the bilateral monopoly conditions under which negotiations over intellectual property often occur. In contrast, market safety is only salient in the final stage. Several commonly referenced bargaining frictions (congestion) are salient, particularly in the second stage. Also, universities and firms differ in the stage during which they are most likely to experience deal failure
Slack time and innovation by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
6 editions published between 2015 and 2016 in English and held by 4 libraries worldwide
The extant literature linking slack time to innovation focuses on how slack time facilitates creative activities such as ideation, experimentation, and prototype development. We turn attention to how slack time may enable activities that are less creative but still important for innovation, namely mundane, execution-oriented tasks. First, we document the main effect: a sharp rise in innovative projects posted on a major crowdfunding platform when colleges are on break. Next, we report timing and project type evidence consistent with the causal interpretation that slack time drives innovation. Finally, we present a series of results consistent with the mundane task mechanism but not with the traditional creativity-related explanations. We do not rule out the possibility that creativity benefits from slack time. Instead, we introduce the idea that mundane, execution-oriented tasks, such as those associated with launching a crowdfunding campaign (e.g., administration, planning, promotion), are an important input to innovation that may benefit significantly from slack time
Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science Evidence from Evolutionary Biology by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 4 libraries worldwide
We report a puzzling pair of facts concerning the organization of science. The concentration of research output is declining at the department level but increasing at the individual level. For example, in evolutionary biology, over the period 1980 to 2000, the fraction of citation-weighted publications produced by the top 20% of departments falls from approximately 75% to 60% but over the same period rises for the top 20% of individual scientists from 70% to 80%. We speculate that this may be due to changing patterns of collaboration, perhaps caused by the rising burden of knowledge and the falling cost of communication, both of which increase the returns to collaboration. Indeed, we report evidence that the propensity to collaborate is rising over time. Furthermore, the nature of collaboration is also changing. For example, the geographic distance as well as the difference in institution rank between collaborators is increasing over time. Moreover, the relative size of the pool of potential distant collaborators for star versus non-star scientists is rising over time. We develop a simple model based on star advantage in terms of the opportunities for collaboration that provides a unified explanation for these facts. Finally, considering the effect of individual location decisions of stars on the overall distribution of human capital, we speculate on the efficiency of the emerging distribution of scientific activity, given the localized externalities generated by stars on the one hand and the increasing returns to distant collaboration on the other
Why Stars Matter by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
5 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 3 libraries worldwide
The growing peer effects literature pays particular attention to the role of stars. We decompose the causal effect of hiring a star in terms of the productivity impact on: 1) co-located incumbents and 2) new recruits. Using longitudinal university department-level data we report that hiring a star does not increase overall incumbent productivity, although this aggregate effect hides offsetting effects on related (positive) versus unrelated (negative) colleagues. However, the primary impact comes from an increase in the average quality of subsequent recruits. This is most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions, suggesting implications for the socially optimal spatial organization of talent
Do tax credits affect R&D expenditures by small firms? evidence from Canada by Ajay Agrawal( Book )
4 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
We exploit a change in eligibility rules for the Canadian Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) tax credit to gain insight on how tax credits impact small-firm R&D expenditures. After a 2004 program change, privately owned firms that became eligible for a 35 percent tax credit (up from a 20 percent rate) on a greater amount of qualifying R&D expenditures increased their R&D spending by an average of 15 percent. Using policy-induced variation in tax rates and R&D tax credits, we estimate the after-tax cost elasticity of R&D to be roughly -1.5. We also show that the response to changes in the after-tax cost of R&D is larger for contract R&D expenditures than for the R&D wage bill and is larger for firms that (a) perform contract R&D services or (b) recently made R&D-related capital investments. We interpret this heterogeneity as evidence that small firms face fixed adjustment costs that lower their responsiveness to a change in the after-tax cost of R&D
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Alternative Names
Agrawal, Ajay
Agrawal, Ajay K.
English (133)
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