How Do Research Joint Ventures Exploit Government R&d Programs?: Evidence from the National Cooperative Research Act, the Advanced Technology Program, and the Department of Defense

Dean Williamson (US Department of Justice)

Abstract: One view of government programs to support R&D is that they should encourage positive informational externalities or “knowledge spillovers.” It is not obvious, however, that private parties always exploit such programs in ways conducive to spillovers. Specifically, firms might only participate in R&D joint ventures if they would not be required to contribute important knowledge inputs or if they could get away with contributing knowledge inputs that are less susceptible to spillover. Indeed, the purpose of contributing knowledge inputs often appears to involve less in the way of inducing knowledge transfers and more in the way of providing joint venture partners rights-of-way to conduct collaborative R&D. Another view is that government programs should enable firms to avoid duplicative costs. There is evidence that cost-sharing is, indeed, the principal motivation for organizing certain ventures.

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