Beginning in the late 1980s, American corporations began increasingly linking the compensation of central research personnel to the economic objectives of the corporation. This paper examines the impact of the shifting compensation of the heads of corporate research and development. Among firms with centralized R&D organizations, a clear relationship emerges: more long-term incentives (such as stock options and restricted stock) are associated with more heavily cited patents. These incentives also appear to be associated with more patent awards and patents of greater originality. Short-term incentives appear to be unrelated to measures of innovation.

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