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International Knowledge Flows: Evidence from an Inventor-Firm Matched Data Set

  • Jinyoung Kim
  • Sangjoon John Lee
  • Gerald Marschke

We describe the construction of a panel data set from the U.S. patent data that contains measures of inventors' life-cycle R&D productivity--patents and patent citations. We match the data set to information on the U.S. pharmaceutical and semiconductor firms for whom they work. In this paper we use these data to examine the role of research personnel as a pathway for the diffusion of ideas from foreign countries to U.S. innovators. In particular, we find in recent years an increase in the extent that U.S. innovating firms collaborate with or employ researchers with foreign experience. This increase appears to work primarily through an increase in U.S. firms' employment of foreign-residing researchers; the fraction of research-active U.S. residents with foreign research experience appears to be falling, suggesting that U.S. pharmaceutical and semiconductor firms are increasingly locating operations in foreign countries to employ such researchers, as opposed to such researchers immigrating to the U.S. to work. In addition, we investigate which U.S. firms conducting R&D build upon innovations originating abroad. We find that employing or collaborating with researchers who have research experience abroad seems to facilitate the use of output of non-U.S. R&D. We also find that in the semiconductor industry smaller and older firms, and in the pharmaceutical industry, younger firms are more likely to access foreign R&D output.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12692.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Publication status: published as Freeman, Richard and Daniel Goroff (eds.) Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment. Chicago and London: NBER and The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12692
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  1. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
  2. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2001. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Development and Comp Systems 0012002, EconWPA.
  3. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  4. DUGUET Emmanuel & MacGARVIE Megan, 2004. "How Well Do Patent Citations Measure Flows of Technology? Evidence from French Innovation Surveys," Development and Comp Systems 0411018, EconWPA.
  5. Albert G.Z. Hu & Adam B. Jaffe, 2001. "Patent Citations and International Knowledge Flow: The Cases of Korea and Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 8528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "Does Globalization of the Scientific/Engineering Workforce Threaten U.S. Economic Leadership?," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 123-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1999. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence From Patent Citations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 105-136.
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  9. Zvi Griliches, 1991. "The Search for R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 3768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff S. Armstrong, 2002. "Commercializing Knowledge: University Science, Knowledge Capture, and Firm Performance in Biotechnology," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 138-153, January.
  11. Jinyoung Kim & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "Labor Mobility Of Scientists, Technological Diffusion, And The Firm’S Patenting Decision," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 586, Econometric Society.
  12. Bronwyn Hall & Adam Jaffe and Manuel Trajenberg, 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Patents and R&D: Is There A Lag?," NBER Working Papers 1454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
  15. Ajay Agrawal & Iain Cockburn & John McHale, 2003. "Gone But Not Forgotten: Labor Flows, Knowledge Spillovers, and Enduring Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 9950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jinyoung Kim & Gerald Marschke, 2005. "Labor Mobility of Scientists, Technological Diffusion, and the Firm's Patenting Decision," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 298-317, Summer.
  17. Gerald Marschke & Jinyoung Kim, 2002. "Accounting for the recent surge in U.S. patenting: Changes in R&D expenditures, patent yields, and the high tech sector," Discussion Papers 02-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  18. Manuel Trajtenberg & Gil Shiff & Ran Melamed, 2006. "The "Names Game": Harnessing Inventors' Patent Data for Economic Research," NBER Working Papers 12479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. James D. Adams, 2004. "Scientific Teams and Institution Collaborations: Evidence from U.S. Universities, 1981-1999," NBER Working Papers 10640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
  21. David C. Mowery & Arvids A. Ziedonis, 2001. "The Geographic Reach of Market and Non-Market Channels of Technology Transfer: Comparing Citations and Licenses of University Patents," NBER Working Papers 8568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Jarle Møen, 2000. "Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?," NBER Working Papers 7834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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