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Migration, Cultural Diversity and Innovation: A European Perspective

  • Valentina Bosetti

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and CMCC)

  • Cristina Cattaneo

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and CMCC)

  • Elena Verdolini

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and CMCC)

This paper analyses the effect of skilled migration on two measures of innovation, patenting and citations of scientific publications, in a panel of 20 European countries. Skilled migrants positively contribute to the knowledge formation in host countries as they add to the pool of skills in destination markets. Moreover, they positively affect natives' productivity, as new ideas are likely to arise through the interaction of diverse cultures and diverse approaches in problem solving. The empirical findings we present support this prediction. Greater diversity in the skilled professions are associated with higher levels of knowledge creation, measured either by the number of patents applied for through the Patent Cooperation Treaty or by the number of citations to published articles. This finding is robust to the use of different proxies for both the explanatory variables and the diversity index in the labour force. Specifically, we first measure diversity with a novel indicator which uses information on the skill level of foreigners’ occupations. We then check our results by following the general literature, which measures skills by looking at the foreigners’ level of education. We show that cultural diversity consistently increases the innovation performance of European Countries.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2012.69.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.69
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  1. Katz, J. Sylvan & Martin, Ben R., 1997. "What is research collaboration?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, March.
  2. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2010. "The Nexus between Labor Diversity and Firm´s Innovation," Working Papers 10-15, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Carayol, Nicolas & Matt, Mireille, 2004. "Does research organization influence academic production?: Laboratory level evidence from a large European university," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1081-1102, October.
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1998. "Globalization and the Market for Teammates," NBER Working Papers 6579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
  6. Mancusi, Maria Luisa, 2008. "International spillovers and absorptive capacity: A cross-country cross-sector analysis based on patents and citations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 155-165, December.
  7. Frédéric Docquier & B. Lindsay Lowell & Abdeslam Marfouk, 2009. "A Gendered Assessment of Highly Skilled Emigration," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 297-321.
  8. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "Migration and Trade: Theory with an Application to the Eastern-Western European Integration," Working Papers 97, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  9. Maskus, Keith & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Stuen, Eric T., 2010. "Skilled Immigration and Innovation: Evidence from Enrollment Fluctuations in U.S. Doctoral Programs," CEPR Discussion Papers 7709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Malerba, Franco, 1992. "Learning by Firms and Incremental Technical Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(413), pages 845-59, July.
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