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Migration, Knowledge Diffusion and the Comparative Advantage of Nations

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  • Dany Bahar
  • Hillel Rapoport

Abstract

The diffusion of tacit knowledge involves direct human interactions. This implies that the international diffusion of knowledge should follow the pattern of international migration. We test this idea using cross‐country productivity spillovers leading to new exports as proxy for knowledge diffusion. We find that a 10% increase in immigration from exporters of a given product is associated with a 2% increase in the likelihood that the host country starts exporting that good ‘from scratch’ in the next decade. The results appear stronger for highly‐skilled migrants, qualitatively similar for emigrants and robust to instrumenting for migration in a gravity framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Dany Bahar & Hillel Rapoport, 2018. "Migration, Knowledge Diffusion and the Comparative Advantage of Nations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 273-305, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:128:y:2018:i:612:p:f273-f305
    DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12450
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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