Universities as Engines of Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Bayh-Dole Act was enacted in the United States in 1980 to promote economic development and growth at regional and national levels. A key engine is research generated within universities. This article addresses the question of how universities can serve as engines of development. Drawing on Cooter and Shaeffer's work on law and development, specifically what they call the double trust problem, this article shows how the Bayh-Dole Act was justified as resolving the double trust problem arising from lack of property rights in university research. This article presents the argument that this goal of the Bayh-Dole Act ignores how universities solve another dimension of the double trust problem, namely the generation of human capital. The author examines the theoretical justifications for the Bayh-Dole Act and universities and the empirical policy literature assessing university patenting and commercialization in the United States, South Africa, and India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-751
Number of pages29
JournalLaw and Development Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • commercialization
  • intellectual property
  • university

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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