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

In: US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy

Author

Listed:
  • George J. Borjas
  • Kirk B. Doran

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2012. "Cognitive Mobility: Labor Market Responses to Supply Shocks in the Space of Ideas," NBER Chapters,in: US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy, pages 109-145 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13245
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, 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, August.
    4. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2008. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," Departmental Working Papers 2008-07, McGill University, Department of Economics.
    5. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 31-56.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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, July.
    9. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 224-245.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 224-245.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Xie, Bin, 2017. "The Effects of Immigration Quotas on Wages, the Great Black Migration, and Industrial Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:2006-2040 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pierre Azoulay & Jeffrey L. Furman & Joshua L. Krieger & Fiona E. Murray, 2012. "Retractions," NBER Working Papers 18499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lawson, Cornelia & Soós,Sándor, 2014. "A Thematic Mobility Measure for Econometric Analysis," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201408, University of Turin.
    6. Christian Helmers & Henry G. Overman, 2017. "My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2006-2040, September.
    7. Andreas Beerli & Giovanni Peri, 2015. "The Labor Market Effects of Opening the Border: New Evidence from Switzerland," NBER Working Papers 21319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Francesco LISSONI, 2016. "Migration and Innovation Diffusion : An Eclectic Survey," Cahiers du GREThA 2016-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    9. Henry Overman & Christian Helmers, 2013. "My precious! The location and di_x000B_ffusion of scientifi_x000C_c research: evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," ERSA conference papers ersa13p654, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Basso, Gaetano & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "The Association between Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 9436, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis, 2013. "Does Knowledge Accumulation Increase the Returns to Collaboration?," NBER Working Papers 19694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Kirk Doran & Alexander Gelber & Adam Isen, 2014. "The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration Policy on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 20668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • 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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