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Travaux de recherche

Bianchini S., Llerena, P., Patsali, S. (2019). Demand-pull innovation in science : Empirical evidence from a research university’s suppliers. Research Policy : X, 1, 100005.

Abstract : The paths via which university-generated knowledge reaches final users and creates value are traditionally considered to be the supply-side channels of the commercialisation of inventions, consultancy, and R&D contracts. Yet, this focus limits universities to being “providers” of knowledge and technology for industrial applications and fails to account for the diversity of mechanisms responsible for the diffusion of academic activities. This paper aims to complete the existing understanding of the contribution made by universities to the corporate innovation process by recognising the impact of university demand on the innovative performance of firms in the scientific value chain. We study the impact of a large French public university on the innovative performance of its suppliers of scientific equipment. We perform micro-econometric analyses showing that university suppliers have a higher propensity to introduce new-to-the-market product innovations than do other firms belonging to the same sectors and with similar characteristics. Our results provide support to the conjecture that innovations and technological changes are the result not only of scientific and technical discoveries, but also of a complex chain reaction triggered by the interplay between specific demands and solutions designed to overcome technology bottlenecks.


Bianchini, S., Llerena, P, & Martino, R. (2019). The impact of R&D subsidies under different institutional frameworks. Structural Change and Economics Dynamics, 50, 65-78.

Abstract : This paper assesses the impact of public R&D subsidies on business R&D investment in heterogeneousinstitutional frameworks. Public support for research and innovation activities may leverage privateresources when firms are constrained by lower quality public institutions, reducing uncertainty andfavouring private risky investments. We develop an institutional index based on existing indicators andgroup regional economies on the basis of the quality of their public institutions. We use a comprehen-sive sample of Spanish firms observed over more than 20 years and a larger dataset of 13 Europeaneconomies drawn from the Community Innovation Survey 2014 to test the policy impact in terms ofprivate R&D expenditure for companies operating in different institutional frameworks. Our findingsreject full crowding-out and show that beneficiary firms invest more in R&D than non-beneficiaries inall regions, including those with lower institutional quality. Our results support the case of policies thatpromote research and innovation activities in weaker institutional contexts.


Bianchini, S., Pellegrino, G. (2019). Innovation persistence and employment dynamics. Research Policy, 48 (5), 1171-1186).

Abstract : This paper examines the effect of persistence in product and process innovations on the employment dynamics of a representative sample of Spanish manufacturing firms observed over more than 20 years. We build a conceptual framework that links innovation, its persistence, and different trajectories of employment growth. This framework suggests that firms might show different responses in terms of their employment growth and its persistence depending on the degree of persistence in their product and process innovations. We construct a synthetic indicator of innovation persistence at the firm-level and link this indicator to different employment trajectories. We find that persistence in product innovation affects both employment growth and the sustainability of job creation over time significantly, whilst persistence in process innovation does not play any relevant role. Also, the positive effect of persistence in product innovation is particularly strong for SMEs. The evidence we provide supports the notion that product innovation is more effective in spurring sustained employment growth when carried out systematically.


Bianchini, S., Pellegrino, G., & Tamagni, F. (2018). Innovation complementarities and firm growth. Industrial and Corporate Change, 27(4), 657-676.

Abstract : This article explores the relations between firm growth and a set of four innovation indicators (in-house R&D, external sourcing, product innovation, and process innovation) that capture the different sources, modes, and outcomes of the innovative strategies adopted by firms. While existing studies tend to focus on the individual effects on growth of each innovation activity, we stress that firms adopt heterogeneous innovation strategies, choosing to perform different combinations of the basic innovation activities. We directly address the empirical question as to whether jointly performing two basic innovation activities boosts sales growth above and beyond the separate contribution of each innovation activity when performed individually. Exploiting a panel of Spanish manufacturing firms observed between 2004 and 2011, we document instances of super-modularity of the growth function, and reveal the presence of complementarities between internal R&D and product innovation, and between product and process innovations. As such, the combination of these three basic innovation activities appears to be the most effective strategy for sustaining growth and market shares, while external sourcing does not appear to make any systematic contribution.


Bianchini, S., Krafft, J., Quatraro, F., & Ravix, J. (2017). Corporate governance and innovation : Does firm age matter ? Industrial and Corporate Change, 27(2), 349-370.

Abstract : This article investigates the relationship between corporate governance (CG) and innovation for firms of different ages. We blend data drawn from the ISS RiskMetrics and the Bureau van Dijk Orbis databases to perform micro-econometric analyses on a sample of 2200 listed firms. We show that CG may decrease research and development for all firms and that, more importantly, it has a significant and negative effect on the patenting strategy of the younger firms. Our results are consistent with the CG life cycle view, according to which young companies tend to privilege short-termism and value preservation rather than long-term risky innovation strategies. What shown and discussed in this contribution supports the proposition that firm age matters in how CG may alter innovation.


Bianchini, S., Bottazzi, G., & Tamagni, F. (2017). What does (not) characterize persistent corporate high growth ? Small Business Economics, 48(3), 633-656.

Abstract : Theoretical and empirical studies of firm-industry dynamics have extensively focused on the process of growth. Theory predicts innovation, efficiency, profitability and financial status as the central channels through which firms can possibly achieve outstanding growth performance. The question is whether such high-growth performance is sustained over time and, if so, what are the factors enabling persistent high-growth patterns. Exploiting panels of Italian, Spanish, French and UK firms, we relate high growth, persistent high growth and other growth patterns to measures of efficiency, innovativeness, profitability and financial conditions. We find that high-growth firms are characterized by higher productivity and leverage, and that persistent high-growth firms do not systematically differ from other high-growth firms in none of the considered economic and financial dimensions. The findings are robust across countries, manufacturing and services.


Bianchini, S., Lissoni, F., Pezzoni, M., & Zirulia, L. (2016). The economics of research, consulting, and teaching quality : Theory and evidence from a technical university. Economics of Innovation & New Technology, 25(7), 668-691.

Abstract : We investigate the effect of both research and consulting on teaching quality in higher education, at the individual level. We propose a theoretical model in which academics allocate effort between the three activities, over a two period time horizon, under the assumption of positive spillovers from research to both consulting opportunities and teaching, and of life-cycle effects on incentives. Propositions from the model are tested against data from a mid-sized Italian engineering faculty. We find that teaching quality is negatively related to consulting and positively related to research experience. However, both relationships are not linear, due to the importance of several mediating factors, such as seniority and the role of scientific publications as a signal for attracting consulting opportunities


Bianchini, S., Llerena, P. (2016). Science policy as a prerequisite of industrial policy. Economia e Politica Industriale, 43(3), 273-280.

Abstract : In this paper, we question the characteristics of the European scientific base, highlighting some structural weaknesses in the system of scientific research and in the system for transfer of technology and knowledge from research universities to corporate actors. By focusing on the Italian and the French scenario we draw some conclusions on what should be an appropriate science policy as a prerequisite of any industrial policy.


Bianchini, S. (2014). Feedback effects of teaching quality assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(3), 380-394. 

Abstract : This study investigates the feedback effects of teaching quality assessment. Previous literature looked separately at the evolution of individual and aggregate scores to understand whether instructors and university performance depends on its past evaluation. I propose a new quantitative-based methodology, combining statistical distributions and transition probabilities matrices, to take into account the dynamics of teaching quality over time both at the macro and the micro level. Using a three-year longitudinal panel from an Italian university, it is shown that evaluation exercises do not impact future teaching performance at either the university level or the individual level.


Bianchini, S., Lissoni, F., & Pezzoni, M. (2013). Instructor characteristics and students’ evaluation of teaching effectiveness : Evidence from an Italian engineering school. European Journal of Engineering Education, 38(1), 38-57. 

Abstract : This study examines the relationship between students’ evaluation of teaching effectiveness and the instructor’s characteristics, based upon an original data set from an Italian university. Age and seniority (academic rank) are both found to affect negatively teaching evaluation, although the effect of rank depends heavily on the discipline. Profession-oriented disciplines are more poorly evaluated and exhibit stronger effects for rank ; in the same disciplines, many courses are taught by non-faculty members, who are evaluated poorly. Gender is also found to be relevant, as it affects students’ evaluation of female instructors, although this result might be biased by the gender composition of classes. Past research outputs, as measured by an instructor’s publication track record, has a positive impact on students’evaluation of teaching effectiveness, although the rate of impact decreases with the amount of publications.

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