Labor Mobility of Scientists, Technological Diffusion, and the Firm's Patenting Decision
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.
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Volume (Year): 36 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
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