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Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion

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  • William R. Kerr

    (Harvard Business School, Entrepreneurial Management Unit)

Abstract

This study explores the importance of knowledge transfer for international technology diffusion by examining ethnic scientific and entrepreneurial communities in the US and their ties to their home countries. US ethnic research communities are quantified by applying an ethnic-name database to individual patent records. International patent citations con.rm knowledge diffuses through ethnic networks, and manufacturing output in foreign countries increases with an elasticity of 0.1-0.3 to stronger scientific integration with the US frontier. To address reverse-causality concerns, reduced-form specifications exploit exogenous changes in US immigration quotas. Consistent with a model of sector reallocation, output growth in less developed economies is facilitated by employment gains, while more advanced economies experience sharper increases in labor productivity. The ethnic transfer mechanism is especially strong in high-tech industries and among Chinese economies. The findings suggest channels for transferring codified and tacit knowledge partly shape the effective technology frontiers of developing and emerging economies.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. Kerr, 2005. "Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 06-022, Harvard Business School, revised Apr 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:06-022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technology Transfer; Tacit Knowledge; Productivity; Patents; Innovation; Research and Development; Entrepreneurship; Immigration; Networks.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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