Patents and the Success of Venture-Capital Backed Startups: Using Examiner Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects. CERGE-EI Working Paper no 546 (pdf)
I study how patents affect firm success (initial public offering or acquisition at a high price) in a sample of 2,191 U.S. startups applying for patent protection in the 24 months following their first round of venture capital funding. I observe both successful and unsuccessful patent applications and use a measure of patent examiner leniency as an instrument for getting patents. I find a positive effect of patents on firm success for life science firms but not for information technology firms.
Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science? (with Christian Catalini and Christian Fons-Rosen) (pdf)
We test how a reduction in travel cost affects the rate and direction of scientific research. Using a fine-grained, scientist-level dataset within chemistry (1991-2012), we find that after Southwest Airlines enters a new route, scientific collaboration increases by 50%, an effect that is magnified when weighting output by quality. The benefits from the lower fares, however, are not uniform across scientist types: younger scientists and scientists that are more productive than their local peers respond the most. Thus, cheaper flights, by reducing frictions otherwise induced by geography and allowing for additional face-to-face interactions, seem to enable better matches over distance.