The public nature of science may lead to the simplistic conclusion that firms can at no cost avail of the scientific knowledge generated by academia or other non-profit institutions. This paper offers empirical evidence that in-house scientific research raises the ability of the firms to take advantage of "public" science. Case studies of a few large US drug manufacturers show that firms with better in-house scientific research programs have exploited more effectively outside scientific information. Statistical analysis reinforces this conclusion. Using data on the 14 largest US-based drug manufacturers between 1973 and 1986, I find that company patents are positively correlated with the scientific publications of the firms even after controlling for the scale of R&D. © 1992.
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