Working Paper No. 160. The Effectiveness of University Knowledge Spill-Overs

PublikationWorking paper
Företagandets villkor, Johan Wiklund, Karl Wennberg, Mike Wright, Spillovers, Universitet
Working Paper No. 160.
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While much prior research has focused upon how the Technology Transfer Offices and other contextual characteristics shape the level of university spin-offs (USO), there is little research on entrepreneurial potential among individual academics, and to the best of our knowledge, no comparative studies with other types of spin-offs exist to date. In this paper we suggest that knowledge transfer from academic research may flow indirectly to entrepreneurship by individuals with a university education background who become involved in new venture creation by means of corporate spin-offs (CSO) after gaining industrial experience, rather than leaving university employment to found a new venture as an academic spinoff. In fact, the commercial knowledge gained by industry experience is potentially more valuable for entrepreneurial performance compared to the academic knowledge gained by additional research experience at a university. This leads us to posit that not only will the average performance of CSOs be higher than comparable USOs, but the gains from founder’s prior experiences will also be higher among CSOs. We investigate these propositions in a comparative study tracking the complete population of USOs and CSOs among the Swedish knowledge-intensive sectors between 1994 and 2002.

Wennberg, K., Wiklund, J. & Wright, M. (2010). The Effectiveness of University Knowledge Spill-Overs: Performance Differences between University Spin-Offs and Corporate Spin-Offs. Ratio Working Paper No. 160.

Liknande innehåll

Questioning the Entrepreneurial State
Wennberg, K. & Sandström, C.


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Western economies are struggling to recover from a decade of Plagued by structural crises, an ongoing pandemic, high unemployment and sluggish growth. As progressively looser monetary and fiscal policies have not helped, both the EU and national governments have increasingly turned towards interventionist industrial policies. Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State (2011) provided an intellectual justification for these efforts, and consequently gained popularity. The message was clear: in order to get more innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainable development and growth we need more government, not less. In this book, 30 international scholars address the core ideas underpinning the entrepreneurial state. We provide evidence of both historical and recent failures of “green deals” and similar efforts, while also developing novel directions for innovation policy. In many regards, this book is a warning: huge government schemes towards specific, noble outcomes have historically been plagued with failures. In sum, we argue that innovation policy needs to be inverted: instead of being specific and targeted, it needs to be broad and general, focusing on the general conditions for firms to operate. Instead of providing targeted support to certain firms, industries or even technologies, innovation policy needs to constructively deal with barriers to innovation, including the proactive handling of vested interest groups.

The book is open access and can be downloaded here.

Ratio Working Paper No. 351: Knowledge Spillovers in the Solar energy sector
Working paperPublikation
Grafström, J.


Publicerat i



The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the existence and possible direction of international knowledge spillovers in the solar energy sector. Specifically, the paper investigates how the accumulation of solar energy patents and public R&D spending affected the output of domestic granted solar energy patents. The econometric analysis relies on a data set consisting of most of the OECD countries plus China and analyzes two time periods; from 1990 to 2014 and the years 2000 to 2014. To analyze the data material, a Poisson fixed-effects estimator based on the Hausman, Hall and Griliches (1984) method was used. The empirical findings suggest that the domestic accumulation of patents and R&D is important for the potential development of new ones. Indeed, early investment in specific technology can be an indicator of future leadership in that field.

Government-sponsored entrepreneurship education: Is less more?
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Sjöö, K., Elert, N. & Wennberg, K.



Entrepreneurship research suggests that entrepreneurship education and training can bridge the gender gap in entrepreneurship, but little empirical research exists assessing the validity and impact of such initiatives. We examine a large government-sponsored entrepreneurship education program aimed at university students in Sweden. While a pre-study indicates that longer university courses are associated with short-term outcomes such as increased self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intentions, results from a more comprehensive study using a pre-post design suggest little effect from these extensive courses on long-term outcomes such as new venture creation and entrepreneurial income. In contrast, we do find positive effects on these long-term outcomes from more limited but more specific training interventions, especially for women. Our study suggests that less extensive but more tailored interventions can be more beneficial than longer or more extensive interventions in promoting entrepreneurship in general, and entrepreneurship of underrepresented groups in particular. We discuss implications for theory, education, and policy.

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