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Migration and invention in the age of mass migration

Author

Listed:
  • Dario Diodato
  • Andrea Morrison
  • Sergio Petralia

Abstract

More than 30 million people migrated to the US between the 1850s and 1920s and in order of thousands became inventors and patentees. Drawing on a novel dataset of immigrant inventors in the US, we assess the city-level impact of immigrants' patenting and their contribution to the technological specialization of the receiving US regions between 1870 and 1940. Our results show that native inventors benefited from the inventive activity of immigrants. We find that immigrant inventors imported knowledge from their home country, which generated positive local spill-overs. In addition, we show that the knowledge transferred by immigrants gave rise to new and previously not exiting technological fields in the US regions where immigrants moved to. Our findings are robust to several checks and the implementation of an instrumental variable strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Dario Diodato & Andrea Morrison & Sergio Petralia, 2018. "Migration and invention in the age of mass migration," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1835, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Oct 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1835
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg1835.pdf
    File Function: Version October 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; innovation; knowledge spill-over; patent; age of mass migration; US;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; 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
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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