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Cognitive Mobility - Labor Market Responses to Supply Shocks in the Space of Ideas

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Author Info

  • Kirk B. Doran

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

  • George J. Borjas

    ()
    (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

Abstract

Knowledge producers who are conducting research on a particular set of questions may respond to supply and demand shocks by shifting their resources to a different set of questions. Cognitive mobility measures the transition from one locations in an idea space to another location in that space. This paper examines the cognitive mobility flows unleashed by the influx of a large number of Soviet mathematicians into the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our analysis exploits the fact that the influx of Soviet mathematicians into the American mathematics community was larger in some fields than in others. The data reveal substantial cognitive mobility in response to the influx, with American mathematicians moving away from, rather than moving to, fields that likely received large numbers of Soviet emigres. It appears that diminishing returns in specific research areas, rather than beneficial human capital spillovers, dominated the cognitive mobility decisions of pre-existing knowledge producers.

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File URL: http://www3.nd.edu/~tjohns20/RePEc/deendus/wpaper/019_cognitive.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 019.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision: Nov 2012
Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:019

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Keywords: Cognitive mobility; labor mobility;

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Cited by:
  1. Dr Max Nathan, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts Of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey Of The Literature," NIESR Discussion Papers 11607, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  2. Henry Overman & Christian Helmers, 2013. "My precious! The location and di_x000B_ffusion of scientifi_x000C_c research: evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," ERSA conference papers ersa13p654, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Pierre Azoulay & Jeffrey L. Furman & Joshua L. Krieger & Fiona E. Murray, 2012. "Retractions," NBER Working Papers 18499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Christian Helmers & Henry Overman, 2013. "My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," SERC Discussion Papers 0131, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  5. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis, 2013. "Does Knowledge Accumulation Increase the Returns to Collaboration?," NBER Working Papers 19694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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