Higher Education and Corporate Innovation
62 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2020 Last revised: 7 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 7, 2020
This paper investigates the impact of higher education on corporate innovation. To establish causality, we exploit a policy-induced exogenous shock in the supply of Chinese college-educated labor starting in 2003. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that Chinese firms in skilled industries generate better innovation outcomes as measured by patents and citations than those in unskilled industries. This effect is more pronounced among firms headquartered in a province with more science and engineering college graduates, young firms that are more likely to hire young graduates, and firms located near universities. Moreover, higher education expansion increases a firm’s innovative human capital in terms of the number of educated employees and inventors. Finally, we show that technological innovation is a mechanism through which higher education affects productivity growth and, thus, the economy.
Keywords: corporate innovation; higher education expansion; human capital; high-skilled labor; China
JEL Classification: G38; J24; O31
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