When Size Matters: Trends in Innovation and Patents in Latin American Universities

Luis Fernando Ramirez, Jairo Isaza Castro


This paper characterizes the trends in technological innovation and intellectual property in four Latin American countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru). Toward this aim, we collected a database of patents granted at the national and university levels in combination with information from a variety of sources to construct a set of plausible explanatory variables. Based on panel data at the national level, we verify that the number of patents granted to universities is strongly associated with the share of resources, as a percentage of GDP, invested in science and technology. At the university level, we find that institutions with more scientific publications and larger enrolment size tend to be granted more innovation patents. To some extent, the evidence presented in this paper indicates that both the absolute and relative sizes of resources invested in scientific and technological research at the university level are subject to economies of scale: a greater amount of resources invested in technological research is associated with increasing levels of innovation and patenting activity.


innovation, patents, R&D policy, universities, Latin America

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