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

Listed author(s):
  • George J. Borjas
  • Kirk B. Doran

Knowledge producers conducting research on a particular set of questions may respond to supply and demand shocks by shifting resources to a different set of questions. Cognitive mobility measures the transition from one location to another in idea space. We examine the cognitive mobility flows unleashed by the influx of Soviet mathematicians into the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The data reveal that American mathematicians moved away from fields that received large numbers of Soviet émigrés. Diminishing returns in specific research areas, rather than beneficial human capital spillovers, dominated the cognitive mobility decisions of knowledge producers.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/676659
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/676659
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2015)
Issue (Month): S1 ()
Pages: 109-145

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/676659
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Joan Llull, 2012. "Immigration, Wages, and Education: a Labor Market Equilibrium Structural Model," 2012 Meeting Papers 366, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1143-1203.
  3. Fabian Waldinger, 2010. "Quality Matters: The Expulsion of Professors and the Consequences for PhD Student Outcomes in Nazi Germany," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 787-831, 08.
  4. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 31-56, April.
  5. Ran Abramitzky & Isabelle Sin, 2014. "Book Translations As Idea Flows: The Effects Of The Collapse Of Communism On The Diffusion Of Knowledge," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1453-1520, December.
  6. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Jialan Wang, 2010. "Superstar Extinction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 549-589.
  7. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, 07.
  8. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 224-245, January.
  9. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2000. "Age and the Quality of Work: The Case of Modern American Painters," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 761-777, August.
  10. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
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