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German Jewish émigrés and US invention

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  • Moser, Petra
  • Voena, Alessandra
  • Waldinger, Fabian

Abstract

Historical accounts suggest that Jewish émigrés from Nazi Germany revolutionized US science. To analyze the émigrés' effects on chemical innovation in the United States, we compare changes in patenting by US inventors in research fields of émigrés with fields of other German chemists. Patenting by US inventors increased by 31 percent in émigré fields. Regressions which instrument for émigré fields with pre-1933 fields of dismissed German chemists confirm a substantial increase in US invention. Inventor-level data indicate that émigrés encouraged innovation by attracting new researchers to their fields, rather than by increasing the productivity of incumbent inventors.

Suggested Citation

  • Moser, Petra & Voena, Alessandra & Waldinger, Fabian, 2014. "German Jewish émigrés and US invention," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68322, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:68322
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics
    • N62 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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