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Knowledge diffusion through employee mobility

  • April Mitchell Franco
  • Darren Filson

In high-tech industries, one important method of diffusion is through employee mobility: many of the entering firms are started by employees from incumbent firms using some of their former employers’ technological know-how. This paper explores the effect of incorporating this mechanism in a general industry framework by allowing employees to imitate their employers’ know-how. The equilibrium is Pareto optimal since the employees “pay” for the possibility of learning their employers’ know-how. The model’s implications are consistent with data from the rigid disk drive industry. These implications concern the effects of know-how on firm formation and survival.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 272.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:272
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  1. Prusa, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1994. "Can Companies Maintain Their Initial Innovation Thrust? A Study of the PC Software Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 523-40, August.
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  6. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  7. Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-65, December.
  8. Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1994. "The Transfer of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 4823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  10. Jovanovic, B. & MacDonald, G., 1993. "The Life Cycle of a Competitive Industry," Working Papers 93-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
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