In 2017, Professor Agrawal was the recipient of the Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

Selected Refereed Publications


Prediction Machines Book - The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence.jpg

Harvard Business Review Press, released on April 17, 2018


National Bureau of Economic Research. The NBER volume is from the University of Chicago Press (published May 2019).

Download the following:

Introduction | Chapter 3 | Chapter 5

Artificial Intelligence

"Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence: Prediction versus Judgment," – with Avi Goldfarb and Joshua Gans, National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2018.

"Economic Policy for Artificial Intelligence," – with Avi Goldfarb and Joshua Gans, Vox CEPR Policy Portal, August 2018.

"Google’s AI Assistant Is a Reminder that Privacy and Security Are Not the Same," with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2018

"Is Your Company's Data Actually Valuable in the AI Era?" - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2018

"How AI Will Change Strategy: A Thought Experiment," - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2017

"How AI Will Change the Way We Make Decisions" - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2017

"The Trade-Off Every AI Company Will Face," - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2017

"What to Expect From Artificial Intelligence," - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, MIT Sloan Management Review, 2017

"The Obama Administration's Roadmap for AI Policy," - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, MIT Sloan Management Review, 2016

"The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence," - with Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, Harvard Business Review, 2016


"The International Mobility of Talent and Innovation: New Evidence and Policy Implications," - edited by Carston Fink and Ernest Miguelez, Cambridge University Press, June 2017. Professor Agrawal wrote Chapter 7: "Diaspora Networks, Knowledge Flows, and Brain Drain".

"How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology, " - with John McHale and Alex Oettl, Research Policy, 2017

"Roads and Innovation," - with Alberto Galasso and Alex Oettl, Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming 2016.

"Understanding the Changing Structure of Scientific Inquiry," - with Avi Goldfarb and Florenta Teodoridis, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2016, 8(1): 100-128

"Recruiting for Ideas: How Firms Exploit the Prior Inventions of New Hires," - with Jasjit Singh, Management Science 57(1), 2011, 129-150.

"Brain Drain or Brain Bank? The Impact of Skilled Emigration on Poor-Country Innovation," - with Devesh Kapur, John McHale, and Alex Oettl, Journal of Urban Economics, 69(1), 2011, 43-55.

"Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," – with Avi GoldfarbAmerican Economic Review, 2008, Vol. 98(4), pp. 1578–1590

Knowledge Flows

"Have University Knowledge Flows Narrowed? Evidence from Patent Data," - with Carlos Rosell, Research Policy, Vol. 38 (1), 2009, 1-13.

"How Do Spatial and Social Proximity Influence Knowledge Flows? Evidence from Patent Data," - with Devesh Kapur and John McHaleJournal of Urban Economics, 2008, Vol. 64, pp.258–269

"International Labor Mobility and Knowledge Flow Externalities," – with Alex OettlJournal of International Business Studies39, 1242 - 1260 (07 Feb 2008)

"Gone But Not Forgotten: Knowledge Flows, Labor Mobility, and Enduring Social Relationships," – with Iain Cockburn and John McHaleJournal of Economic Geography, September 2006, 6, pp. 571-591

The Geography of Ideas

Why Are Some Regions More Innovative than Others? The Role of Firm Size Diversity,” - with Iain Cockburn, Alberto Galasso, and Alex Oettl, Journal of Urban Economics: 81, 2014, 149-165.

“Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns,” - with Iain Cockburn and Carlos Rosell, Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 67 (1), 2010, 78-89. 

"The Anchor Tenant Hypothesis: Exploring the Role of Large, Local, R&D-Intensive Firms in Regional Innovation Systems," - with Iain CockburnInternational Journal of Industrial Organization, 21 (2003): 1227-1253

Entrepreneurial Finance

“Are Syndicates the Killer App of Equity Crowdfunding?” - with Avi Goldfarb and Christian Catalini, California Management Review, 58(2), 111-124 (2016).

“Crowdfunding: Geography, Social Networks, and the Timing of Investment Decisions,” - with Christian Catalini and Avi Goldfarb, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 24 (2) 253-274 (2015).

"Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding," - with Christian Catalini and Avi Goldfarb, Innovation Policy and the Economy 14 (2014).

“Life Sciences Venture Capital in Emerging Markets,” - with Justin Chakma and Stephen Sammut, Nature Biotechnology, 31(3), 195-201 (2013).

"The Geography of Crowdfunding," - with Christian Catalini and Avi Goldfarb, NBER Working Paper No. 16820 (2011).

Commercialization of University Science

“Deals not Done: Sources of Failure in the Market for Ideas” - with Iain Cockburn and Laurina Zhang, Strategic Management Journal, 36(7), 2015, 976-986.

Public Sector Science and the Strategy of the Commons – with Lorenzo GarlappiEconomics of Innovation and New Technology, 2007, Vol. 16 (7), pp. 517-539

Engaging the Inventor: Exploring Licensing Strategies for University Inventions and the Role of Latent Knowledge - Strategic Management Journal, January 2006, Vol. 27, Issue 1, pp. 63-79

Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT - with Rebecca HendersonManagement Science, Vol. 48, No. 1, January 2002

"Research on University-to-Industry Knowledge Transfer: Framework of Existing Literature and Unanswered Questions,"International Journal of Management Reviews, December 2001

Other Publications

Public Sector Science and the Strategy of the Commons (abridged) - with Lorenzo GarlappiBest Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management, 2002

AbstractWe model the conditions under which incumbent firms may purposefully create an intellectual property commons such that no firm has the incentive to invest in new product development, despite the potential profitability of a public sector, university invention. The strategy of spoiling incentives to innovate by eliminating exclusive intellectual property rights—the strategy of the commons—is motivated by a fear of cannibalization and supported by a credible threat. We show how the degree of potential cannibalization is related to this market failure and characterize the subgame perfect equilibrium in which the strategy of the commons is played.

D-Wave: Building a Quantum Computer - with Alan MacCormack and Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School Publishing, May 2004

Abstract: D-Wave Systems is a start-up seeking to commercialize a quantum computer. Its business model is unique: as of 2003, it had very few technical resources within the firm. Instead, it financed a series of projects undertaken at universities and government labs. In return for partial funding, these organizations gave D-Wave the ownership of--or exclusive rights to--intellectual property developed in the project. Geordie Rose, CEO of D-Wave, wonders how long this model is appropriate in contrast to the alternative of centralizing the research in an in-house facility, with all the costs this would incur.

Patents Versus Other Knowledge Transfer Channels (Summary of “Putting Patents in Context”) – Technological Innovation and Intellectual Property Newsletter, Vol. 5, 2003

Abstract: In this paper we explore the degree to which patents are representative of the magnitude, direction, and impact of the knowledge spilling out of the university by focusing on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in particular, on the Departments of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, we show that patenting is a minority activity: a majority of the faculty in our sample never patent, and publication rates far outstrip patenting rates. Most faculty members estimate that patents account for less than 10% of the knowledge that transfers from their labs. Our results also suggest that in two important ways patenting is not representative of the patterns of knowledge generation and transfer from MIT: patent volume does not predict publication volume, and those firms that cite MIT papers are in general not the same firms as those that cite MIT patents. However, patent volume is positively correlated with paper citations, suggesting that patent counts may be reasonable measures of research impact. We close by speculating on the implications of our results for the difficult but important question of whether, in this setting, patenting acts as a substitute or a complement to the process of fundamental research.

Comment on "The Service Economy in Canada."  In Services Industries and Knowledge-Based Economy.  Edited by Richard G. Lipsey and Alice O. Nakamura. The Industry Canada Research Series. Calgary:University of Calgary Press, 2005

Abstract: This essay offers some thoughts on the paper “Location Effects, Locational Spillovers, and the Performance of Canadian Information Technology Firms” by Steven Globerman, Daniel Shapiro and Aidan Vining. The paper was prepared for the Micro-Economic Policy Analysis (MEPA) division at Industry Canada and presented at the conference “Services Industries and the Knowledge-Based Economy” in Winnipeg, in October, 2003. The comments presented in this essay are based on my discussant remarks presented at that conference.

Innovation, Growth Theory, and the Role of Knowledge Spillovers - Statistics Canada, Innovation Analysis Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 3, November 2002

Abstract: The relationship between innovation and economic growth has been well studied. However, that is not to say that it is well understood. Renowned scholars continue to work with incredibly simplified models of an incredibly complex economy. Consequently, empirical results are usually carefully annotated with caveats noting the limitations of all findings and the great uncertainties that remain concerning fundamental assumptions in the field.

Innovation and the Growth of Cities (book review) Journal of Economic Geography, October 2003, Vol. 3, Issue 4

Professor Agrawal speaks at conferences and events throughout the world. He also runs customized workshops to help corporations better prepare for and maximize the impact of artificial intelligence.