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Job-hopping in Silicon Valley: some evidence concerning the micro-foundations of a high technology cluster

Author

Listed:
  • Bruce C. Fallick
  • Charles A. Fleischman
  • James B. Rebitzer

Abstract

In Silicon Valley's computer cluster, skilled employees are reported to move rapidly between competing firms. If true, this job-hopping facilitates the reallocation of resources towards firms with superior innovations, but it also creates human capital externalities that reduce incentives to invest in new knowledge. Outside of California, employers can use non-compete agreements to reduce mobility costs, but these agreements are unenforceable under California law. Until now, the claim of "hyper-mobility" of workers in Silicon has not been rigorously investigated. Using new data on labor mobility we find higher rates of job-hopping for college-educated men in Silicon Valley's computer industry than in computer clusters located out of the state. Mobility rates in other California computer clusters are similar to Silicon Valley's, suggesting some role for state laws restricting non-compete agreements. Outside of the computer industry, California's mobility rates are no higher than elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce C. Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman & James B. Rebitzer, 2005. "Job-hopping in Silicon Valley: some evidence concerning the micro-foundations of a high technology cluster," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor mobility - California ; Computer industry - California ; High technology industries - California;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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