Sharon Belenzon


Fundación Damm Distinguished Professor of Business Administration

Academic Area: Strategy
Phone Number: +1.919.660.7845

Teaching / Research Interests

Innovation, Organizational Structure, Competitive Advantage

Mailing Information

Duke University: The Fuqua School of Business
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708


I am a professor in the Strategy area at the Fuqua School of Business of Duke University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). My research investigates the role of business in advancing science. Through various lenses and perspectives, my work aims to deepen our understanding of why American corporations participate in scientific research and why they have been cutting back on this activity over the past four decades. Using data on corporate scientific articles and patents, my work develops large-scale empirical measures of research and development and the application of science to technology. With these data, we document how corporate investment in scientific research has evolved over time and study implications for the American innovation ecosystem. We investigate several reasons for why firms withdraw from research, including rising knowledge spillovers and growing division of innovative labor, whereby large firms specialize in downstream development and universities specialize in upstream research. We observe that the innovation ecosystem is changing, corporate labs are declining, and perhaps more is being sought from universities and startups. These findings have important consequences for strategy and economic policy. For strategy, they imply that sources of corporate growth may lie in acquisitions of startups, alliances, and extensions of existing products. For economic policy, challenges may lie in managing the tradeoff between benefits from specialization and the difficulty of commercializing university research.

In separate work, I also study how firm organizational structure is related to corporate strategy and economic outcomes. My research has been featured in top academic journals, such as Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Economic Journal, Research Policy and Journal of Law and Economics. I received my PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and completed post-doctorate work at the University of Oxford, Nuffield College. I was the ‘07 recipient of the Kauffman foundation post-doctorate fellowship at the NBER. I earned MA and BA degrees in Economics from Tel-Aviv University, Israel. I have been an Associate Editor for Management Science from January 2016 and for Strategic Management Journal from July 2016.