Nathalie Ferrière: nathalie.ferriere[at]sciencespo-aix.fr
Federico Trionfetti: federico.trionfetti[at]univ-amu.fr
Introducing a new measure of scientific proximity between private firms and public research groups and exploiting a multi-billion euro financing program of academic clusters in France, we provide causal evidence of spillovers from academic research to private sector firms. Firms in the top quartile of exposure to the funding shock increase their R&D effort by 20% compared to the bottom quartile. We exploit reports produced by funded clusters, complemented by data on labor mobility and R&D public–private partnerships, to provide evidence on the channels for these spillovers. We show that spillovers are driven by outsourcing of R&D activities by the private to the public sectors and, to a lesser extent, by labor mobility from one to the other and by informal contacts. We discuss the policy implications of funding academic research to stimulate private R&D.