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Job-Hopping in Silicon Valley: Some Evidence Concerning the Micro-Foundations of a High Technology Cluster

  • Bruce Fallick
  • Charles A. Fleischman
  • James B. Rebitzer

Observers of Silicon Valley's computer cluster report that employees move rapidly between competing firms, but evidence supporting this claim is scarce. Job-hopping is important in computer clusters because it facilitates the reallocation of talent and resources toward firms with superior innovations. 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 features of California law that make non-compete agreements unenforceable. Consistent with our model of innovation, mobility rates outside of computer industries are no higher in California than elsewhere.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_432.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_432
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
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  8. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  12. Jarle Moen, 2005. "Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 81-114, January.
  13. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, June.
  14. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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