This thesis focuses on the United States’ “National Innovation System” (NIS) and the role of private and public actors in this system. It is part of a broader literature seeking to identify the key catalysts of innovative activity, and hence economic growth. Although there are many elements that constitute the NIS, this study emphasizes one private institution, the venture capital industry, and one public institution, the Small Business Innovation Research program. The study uses state-level panel data aggregated over a fourteen-year period (2002-2015) and is operationalized by implementing an Ordinary Least Squares fixed-effects model that uses utility patent applications—a proxy for innovation—as the dependent variable. This thesis argues that public-private partnerships and symbiosis between the two sectors is critical to empowering technological innovation and sustainable long-run economic growth.
Alternative energy is a rapidly growing field, and one of the main drivers behind this growth is the investment of venture capital. Because of this recent market expansion, little research has been done analyzing venture capital investment behaviors in specific alternative energy industries. This thesis present an analysis of venture capital investments with regard to industry and type of security invested. A Poisson distribution is used to measure the time in between financing rounds, and a negative binomial distribution is used to measure the change in the sum of equity from round to round.