The main purpose of this paper is to analyse whether research spin-offs, that is, spin-offs from either public research institutes or universities, have greater innovation capabilities than comparable knowledge-intensive firms created in other ways. Using a sample of about 2,800 firms from highly innovative sectors, propensity score matching is used to create a sample group of control firms that is comparable to the group of spin-offs. The article provides evidence that the 121 research spin-offs investigated have more patent applications and more radical product innovations, on average, compared to similar firms. The results also show that research spin-offs’ superior innovation performance can be explained by their high level of research cooperation and by location factors. An urban region location and proximity to the parent institution are found to be conducive to innovation productivity. The article also finds evidence that research spin-offs are more successful in attracting support from public innovation support programmes in comparison to their peers.
Related content: Working paper No. 222
Stephan, A. (2014). Are public research spin-offs more innovative?Small Business Economics, 43(2), 353-368. DOI: 10.1007/s11187-013-9539-z