Exploring the Regional Spillover Effects of University AI Research on the Creation and Performance of AI start-ups

Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics

This paper investigates whether and which type of AI academic research in universities can create regional knowledge spillover effects that improve the quantity and quality of start-ups. University AI research output in this study is operationalized as the publication counts of 14 premium conferences in AI. Using data of start-ups from Crunchbase.com and AI conference publications from CSRankings.com, we find that knowledge spillovers from university AI research indeed contribute to the creation and enhancement of venture capital financing performance of local start-ups at the MSA level in the United States. Moreover, our results suggest that high interdisciplinary AI knowledge spillovers are more likely to contribute to the creation of start-ups. We also find significant heterogeneous effects of knowledge spillovers in different AI subfields. In addition, the knowledge spillovers from theoretical AI research and impactful AI research have stronger effects on the creation of start-ups, compared to knowledge spillovers from applied AI research. This study enhances our understanding of AI knowledge spillovers and contributes to the nascent literature on the value of interdisciplinary research and IT entrepreneurship.