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The Mover's Advantage: Scientific Performance of Mobile Academics

  • Chiara Franzoni
  • Giuseppe Scellato
  • Paula Stephan

We investigate performance differentials associated with mobility for research active scientists residing in a broad spectrum of countries and working in a broad spectrum of fields using data from the GlobSci survey. We distinguish between two categories of mobile scientists: (1) those studying or working in a country other than that of origin and (2) those who have returned to their native country after a spell of study or work abroad. We compare the performance of these mobile scientists to natives who have never experienced a spell of mobility and are studying or working in their country of origin. We find evidence that mobile scientists perform better than those who have not experienced mobility. Among the mobile, we find some evidence that those who return perform better than the foreign born save in the United States, suggesting that positive selection is not at work in determining who remains outside the country. This is supported by the finding that for most countries the performance of returnees is no different than that of compatriots who remain abroad after controlling for other effects.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18577.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18577
Note: LS
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  1. Roach, Michael & Sauermann, Henry, 2010. "A taste for science? PhD scientists' academic orientation and self-selection into research careers in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 422-434, April.
  2. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer Effects in Science - Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp0910, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Agrawal, Ajay & Kapur, Devesh & McHale, John & Oettl, Alexander, 2011. "Brain drain or brain bank? The impact of skilled emigration on poor-country innovation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 43-55, January.
  4. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1143-1203.
  7. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2011. "Eight Questions about Brain Drain," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1111, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:339-375 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. John Gibson & David Mckenzie, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries," Working Papers in Economics 10/05, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  10. Giuseppe Scellato & Chiara Franzoni & Paula Stephan, 2012. "Mobile Scientists and International Networks," NBER Working Papers 18613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  12. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  13. Lee Fleming, 2001. "Recombinant Uncertainty in Technological Search," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 117-132, January.
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