Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 513–532 | Cite as

Academic commercialization and changing nature of academic cooperation

  • Sotaro ShibayamaEmail author
Regular Article


Recent economic policies emphasize the role of academic science in technological innovation and economic growth and encourage universities and individual academics to engage in commercial activities. In this trend of academic commercialization, a growing concern has been expressed that its potential incompatibility with the traditional norms of open science could undermine the cooperative climate in academia. Drawing on the framework of evolution of the cooperation, this study examines the changing nature of academic cooperation under the current policy trend. In an ideal state of open science, academics are supposed to cooperate gratis and unconditionally. However, results predict that the commercialized regime could compromise underlying mechanisms of cooperation and allow defectors to prevail. As the trend further grows, academics would become more demanding of direct reward in exchange for cooperation, and they would refrain from engaging in cooperation but would prefer to work independently. Some interventions (e.g., centralized rewarding) could mitigate the problem but require delicate system design.


Indirect reciprocity Evolution of cooperation Social norms Open science Academic commercialization Academic Entrepreneurship Evolutionary game theory 

JEL Classification

I23 L26 O33 C73 O38 



I am grateful to Yasunori Baba, Thomas Hellmann, David N. Laband, Hisashi Ohtsuki, Nobuyuki Takahashi, John P. Walsh, and an anonymous reviewer for their critical and insightful suggestions. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 14th International Schumpeter Society Conference, and I acknowledge Andreas Chai and Jason Potts for their review. This study is partly supported by the Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation and Grant-in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (#23810004).

Supplementary material

191_2014_387_MOESM1_ESM.docx (301 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 300 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Advanced Science and Technologythe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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