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How do the foreign-born perform in inventive activity? Evidence from Sweden

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  • Yannu Zheng

    ()

  • Olof Ejermo

    ()

Abstract

Using a new database that matches patent applications by Swedish residents with demographic information from 1985 to 2007, we examine differences in inventive performance by individuals of foreign and domestic origins, in terms of quantity (probability of patenting, total number of patents per inventor) and quality (forward citations, probability of grant) of patents. We further compare adult and child immigrants with their Swedish-born counterparts. Holding other variables constant, we find that the immigrants are generally less likely to patent than the Swedish-born. Nonetheless, the general group of immigrant inventors, including those who migrated as adults, performs as well as the native inventors and therefore seems more positively selected. Compared with the Swedish-born, the immigrants who migrated as children are disadvantaged in both quantity and quality of patents, which may be linked to a lack of Sweden-specific human capital. Whether education was received in Sweden does not seem to make a difference for the immigrants who migrated as adults. In summary, this study provides an initial impression of the inventive performance, contribution and challenges of distinct groups of immigrants who have differing characteristics and backgrounds. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Yannu Zheng & Olof Ejermo, 2015. "How do the foreign-born perform in inventive activity? Evidence from Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 659-695, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:28:y:2015:i:3:p:659-695
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-015-0551-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Fassio, Claudio & Montobbio, Fabio & Venturini, Alessandra, 2015. "How Do Native and Migrant Workers Contribute to Innovation?," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201520, University of Turin.
    2. Olof Ejermo & Yannu Zheng, 2018. "Liberalization of European migration and the immigration of skilled people to Sweden," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, December.
    3. repec:eee:respol:v:48:y:2019:i:3:p:706-718 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Zheng, Yannu, 2016. "The patenting performance of second-generation immigrants in Sweden: differentiated by parents’ region of origin," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    5. Alessandra Venturini, 2015. "How do Native and Migrant Workers Contribute to Innovation? A Study on France, Germany and the UK," Discussion Papers 30, Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI).
    6. Claudio Fassio & Alessandra Venturini, 2015. "Do native and migrant workers contribute to innovation? Patents dynamic in France, Germany and the UK," RSCAS Working Papers 2015/41, European University Institute.
    7. repec:exl:25engi:v:28:y:2017:i:2:p:187-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:exl:25engi:v:27:y:2016:i:4:p:452-461 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Igna, Ioana A., 2018. "The effects of educational mismatch on inventor productivity. Evidence from Sweden, 2003-2010," Papers in Innovation Studies 2018/8, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigrants; Inventors; Children; Adults; J15; J24; N30; O31;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • 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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