Academic entrepreneurship: Which inventors do technology licensing officers prefer for spinoffs?

Technology licensing officers play an important role in the creation of university spinoffs. Anecdotal data suggests that licensing officers make use of the representativeness heuristic when deciding which inventors’ technologies should (not) be commercialized through the founding of new companies. In this context, use of the representativeness heuristic implies that licensing officers favor for spinoff creation the inventions of academics that “fit” the profile of a typical inventor-entrepreneur. To examine this possibility, we conduct a randomized experiment with more than 200 technology licensing officers at U.S. universities and find evidence consistent with the use of the representativeness heuristic.

University spinoffs Entrepreneurship Technology licensing offices University inventions Technology commercialization

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