Drivers of Academic Research and Patenting in India: Econometric Estimation of the Research Production Function

Amit Shovon Ray, Sabyasachi Saha
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In this paper we attempt to provide a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of
academic research and patenting in India. Academic research is conceptualised as a
research production process where research inputs (like research time and number of
research scholars) are transformed into research outputs in the form of publications
and patents. We expect research inputs by a faculty member to be an outcome of
his/her own decision-making process, which in turn determine his/her research
outputs. Exogenous parameters, like faculty background, faculty attitude, research
sponsorship and institutional factors, are expected to influence both set of endogenous
variables (research inputs and outputs). We specify this production function as a
recursive simultaneous equation model and estimate the structural parameters using
standard econometric methods. Our results clearly identify several drivers of
academic research and patenting in India, in terms of faculty background, faculty
attitude and other parameters, from which we arrive at concrete policy lessons for
patenting of academic research in India. In particular, we argue that putting in place
institutional structures will not serve the purpose without addressing the fundamental
issues of research environment, culture and attitude in the first place. In a sense,
therefore, introducing an IPR legislation alone may not act as an instant magic
formula to energise Indian academic research for commercial application.