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Migration of skilled workers and innovation: A European Perspective

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  • Bosetti, Valentina
  • Cattaneo, Cristina
  • Verdolini, Elena

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of skilled migration on two measures of innovation, patenting and bibliometric data, in a panel of 20 European countries between 1995 and 2008. The empirical findings show that a larger pool of migrants in the skilled professions is associated with higher levels of knowledge creation. Skilled migrants contribute both to the creation of “private” knowledge, measured by the number of patent applications through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and to more “public” basic research, measured by the number of citations to published articles. This finding is robust, in that it uses both an occupation-based and an education-based index of skilled migration, as well as an instrumental variable estimation accounting for the endogeneity of the skilled migrants indicator and to a number of robustness checks. Our results suggest that policy efforts aiming at attracting skilled migrants to Europe and employing them in skilled professions, such as those put forward in the Europe 2020 Strategy, will indeed foster EU competitiveness in innovation.

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  • Bosetti, Valentina & Cattaneo, Cristina & Verdolini, Elena, 2015. "Migration of skilled workers and innovation: A European Perspective," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 311-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:96:y:2015:i:2:p:311-322
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2015.04.002
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    Keywords

    Skilled migration; Innovation; Knowledge production function; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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