Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The innovative impact of public research institutes: evidence from Italy

Robbiano, Simone (2021): The innovative impact of public research institutes: evidence from Italy.

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Abstract

This paper empirically analyzes whether a prominent place-based innovation policy, the institution of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), has affected the treated region innovative capacity. By relying on the Synthetic Control Method (SCM) approach and Italian NUTS-3 regional panel data, the innovative development of the latter, proxied by (per-capita) fractional count of patents, is compared with a set of Italian NUTS-3 control ones. Results suggest that the establishment of IIT has impacted on the regional innovative output, on average, by about 22.5 more patents for million inhabitants per year in the post-intervention period. The paper also provides evidence of knowledge spillovers from IIT in the hosting region. In addition, positive effects on the regional endowment of high-skilled human capital as well as regional growth are also documented. Finally, these results are robust to a variety of placebo permutation tests as well as several sensitivity checks, or when considering a Difference-in-Differences (DiD) approach. Finally, the paper may provide useful insights to inform policy makers about the marginal benefits of additional research funding by highlighting the stream of private and social returns, against which the opportunity cost of the intervention must be compared.

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