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Migrant inventors and the technological advantage of nations

Author

Listed:
  • Dany Bahar

    (The Brookings Institution, CESifo - CESifo)

  • Prithwiraj Choudhury

    (Harvard Business School - Harvard University [Cambridge])

  • Hillel Rapoport

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, CESifo - CESifo)

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between the presence of migrant inventors and the dynamics of innovation in the migrants' receiving countries. We find that countries are 25 to 60% more likely to gain advantage in patenting in certain technologies given a twofold increase in the number of foreign inventors from other nations that specialize in those same technologies. For the average country in our sample, this number corresponds to only 25 inventors and a standard deviation of 135. We deal with endogeneity concerns by using historical migration networks to instrument for stocks of migrant inventors. Our results generalize the evidence of previous studies that show how migrant inventors "import" knowledge from their home countries, which translates into higher patenting in the receiving countries. We interpret these results as tangible evidence of migrants facilitating the technology-specific diffusion of knowledge across nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Dany Bahar & Prithwiraj Choudhury & Hillel Rapoport, 2020. "Migrant inventors and the technological advantage of nations," Post-Print halshs-02973745, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02973745
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.103947
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02973745
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; Migration; Patent; Technology; Knowledge;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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