This paper studies whether high-quality research in first-tier universities has greater local knowledge spillovers than that in lower-tier universities. First-tier universities are identified as those among the top 150, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Several indicators of academic excellence are included among the contextual drivers of innovation in a multivariate probit regression applied to European manufacturing data. The results show that top-10 publications of second-tier universities exhibit the highest positive association with product innovation of science-based sectors, but negative associations with top-10 publications of first- and second-tier universities are evidenced for process innovation in this macro-sector.
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