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Foreign Born Scientists: Mobility Patterns for Sixteen Countries

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  • Chiara Franzoni
  • Giuseppe Scellato
  • Paula Stephan

Abstract

We report results from the first systematic study of the mobility of scientists engaged in research in a large number of countries. Data were collected from 17,182 respondents using a web-based survey of corresponding authors in 16 countries in four fields during 2011. We find considerable variation across countries, both in terms of immigration and emigration patterns. Switzerland has the largest percent of immigrant scientists working in country (56.7); Canada, and Australia trail by nine or more percent; the U.S. and Sweden by approximately eighteen percent. India has the lowest (0.8), followed closely by Italy and Japan. The most likely reason to come to a country for postdoctoral study or work is professional. Our survey methodology also allows us to study emigration patterns of individuals who were living in one of the 16 countries at age 18. Again, considerable variation exists by country. India heads the list with three in eight of those living in country when they were 18 out of country in 2011. The country with the lowest diaspora is Japan. Return rates also vary by country, with emigrants from Spain being most likely to return and those from India being least like to return. Regardless of country, the most likely reason respondents report for returning to one's home country is family or personal.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara Franzoni & Giuseppe Scellato & Paula Stephan, 2012. "Foreign Born Scientists: Mobility Patterns for Sixteen Countries," NBER Working Papers 18067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18067
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    1. Haeussler, Carolin, 2011. "Information-sharing in academia and the industry: A comparative study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 105-122, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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