Economic impact of entrepreneurial universities’ activities: An exploratory study of the United Kingdom

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Guerrero, Maribel ; Cunningham, James ; Urbano, David (2015)

Throughout economic history, institutions have established the rules that shape human interaction. In this sense, political, socio-cultural, and economic issues respond to particular forces: managed economy or entrepreneurial economy. In the entrepreneurial economy, the dominant production factor is knowledge capital that is the source of competitive advantage, which is complemented by entrepreneurship capital, representing the capacity to engage in and generate entrepreneurial activity. Thus, an entrepreneurial economy generates scenarios in which its members can explore and exploit economic opportunities and knowledge to promote new entrepreneurial phenomena that have not been previously visualised. In this context, the entrepreneurial university serves as a conduit of spillovers contributing to economic and social development through its multiple missions of teaching, research, and entrepreneurial activities. In particular, the outcomes of its missions are associated with the determinants of production functions (e.g. human capital, knowledge capital, social capital, and entrepreneurship capital). All these themes are still considerate potentially in the research agenda in academic entrepreneurship literature. This paper modestly tries to contribute to a better understanding of the economic impact of entrepreneurial universities’ teaching, research, and entrepreneurial activities. Taking an endogenous growth perspective, the proposed conceptual model is tested using data collected from 2005-2007 for 147 universities located in 74 Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics-3 (NUTS-3) regions of the United Kingdom. The results of this exploratory analysis show the positive and significant economic impact of teaching, research, and entrepreneurial activities. Interestingly, the higher economic impact of the United Kingdom’s entrepreneurial universities (the Russell group) is explained by entrepreneurial spin-offs. However, our control group composed by the rest of the country’s universities, the highest economic impact is associated with knowledge transfer (knowledge capital).
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