This paper considers university–industry relations, identifying the heterogeneity of academic knowledge with respect to economic growth and analysing its implication for the working of the academic mode of knowledge governance. It provides unique historical evidence on the differentiated effects of academic spillovers, using professorial chairs distinguished by disciplinary field, as a proxy, for the total factor productivity growth. The results shed light on the impacts of the various disciplines on economic growth. The increase in the number of chairs in engineering and chemistry contributed most to the growth in the total factor productivity. This is consistent with the historical context, characterized by the radical transformation of a backward agricultural economy into a highly industrialized, prosperous one. The results of this analysis stress the need to control and direct the composition of the bundle of types of knowledge generated by the academic system with the support of public subsidies.

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