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Labor Mobility of Scientists, Technological Diffusion, and the Firm's Patenting Decision

Author

Listed:
  • Jinyoung Kim

    () (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

  • Gerald Marschke

    () (University at Albany, SUNY)

Abstract

We develop and test a model of the patenting and R&D decisions of an innovating firm whose scientist-employees sometimes quit to join or start a rival. In our model, the innovating firm patents to protect itself from its employees. We show theoretically that the risk of a scientist's departure reduces the firm's R&D expenditures and raises its propensity to patent an innovation. We find evidence from firm-level panel data that is consistent with this latter result. Our results suggest that scientists' turnover is associated with cross-industry patenting variation and with recent economy-wide increases in patenting. Scientists' turnover may also partly account for why small firms have high patent-R&D ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • Jinyoung Kim & Gerald Marschke, 2005. "Labor Mobility of Scientists, Technological Diffusion, and the Firm's Patenting Decision," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 298-317, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:36:y:2005:2:p:298-317
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    Keywords

    Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking; Elections; Legislatures; and Voting Behavior Asymmetric and Private Information career concerns; judicial decision-making;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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