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Foreign-origin inventors in the US: Testing for diaspora and brain gain effects

Author

Listed:
  • S. Breschi
  • F. Lissoni

    (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • E. Miguelez

    (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We assess the role of ethnic ties in the diffusion of technical knowledge using a database of patents filed by US-resident inventors of foreign origin, identified by name analysis. We consider 10 leading source countries, both Asian and European, of highly skilled migration to the USA and test whether foreign inventors' patents are disproportionately cited by (i) co-ethnic migrants ('diaspora' effect), and (ii) inventors residing in their country of origin ('brain gain' effect). We find evidence of the diaspora effect for the Asian but not the European countries, with the exception of Russia. A diaspora effect does not necessarily translate into a brain gain effect, most notably for India where no such effect is detected. Neither does a brain gain effect occur solely in conjunction with a diaspora effect. Overall, diaspora and brain gain effects carry less weight than other channels of knowledge transmission, most notably co-invention networks and multinational companies.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Breschi & F. Lissoni & E. Miguelez, 2017. "Foreign-origin inventors in the US: Testing for diaspora and brain gain effects," Post-Print hal-02271623, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02271623
    DOI: 10.1093/jeg/lbw044
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inventors; knowledge; Patents; United States; Ethnic group; Immigrant nternational; Skilled labor; Assessment method; Asia; Migration; Diffusion; Europe; Diaspora; Brain gain;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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