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Which Peers Matter? The Relative Impacts of Collaborators, Colleagues, and Competitors

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  • George J. Borjas
  • Kirk B. Doran

Abstract

Many economists believe knowledge production generates positive spillovers among knowledge producers. The available evidence, however, is mixed. We argue that spillovers can exist along three dimensions (idea, geographic, and collaboration space). To isolate the key channel through which knowledge spills over, we use a unique data set to examine the impact of a large post-1992 exodus of Soviet mathematicians on the output of the non-émigrés. Although the data reveal strong competitive effects in idea space, there is evidence of knowledge spillovers in collaboration space, when high-quality researchers directly engage with other researchers in the joint production of new knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2014. "Which Peers Matter? The Relative Impacts of Collaborators, Colleagues, and Competitors," NBER Working Papers 20026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2013. "Immigration and Employer Transitions for STEM Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 193-197, May.
    3. Chiara Franzoni & Giuseppe Scellato & Paula Stephan, 2012. "The Mover's Advantage: Scientific Performance of Mobile Academics," NBER Working Papers 18577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born PhDs in the US," NBER Working Papers 18780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1308-1323 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pedro Albarrán & Raquel Carrasco & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2017. "Are Migrants More Productive Than Stayers? Some Evidence From A Set Of Highly Productive Academic Economists," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1308-1323, July.
    3. Francesca Gioia, 2017. "Peer effects on risk behaviour: the importance of group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 100-129, March.
    4. Bruhin, Adrian & Götte, Lorenz & Haenni, Simon & Jiang, Lingqing, 2014. "Spillovers of Prosocial Motivation: Evidence from an Intervention Study on Blood Donors," IZA Discussion Papers 8738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Fernanda L. L. de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2014. "The role of conferences on the pathway to academic impact: Evidence from a natural experiment," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-08, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1625-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Thomas Cornelissen, 2016. "Do social interactions in the workplace lead to productivity spillover among co-workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 314-314, November.
    8. Thomas Bolli & Jörg Schläpfer, 2015. "Job mobility, peer effects, and research productivity in economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 104(3), pages 629-650, September.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:424-434 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ham, John C. & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2017. "Novelty, Knowledge Spillovers and Innovation: Evidence from Nobel Laureates," GLO Discussion Paper Series 30, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. repec:eme:aecozz:s0731-905320160000037016 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Peter Burridge & J. Paul Elhorst & Katarina Zigova, 2016. "Group Interaction in Research and the Use of General Nesting Spatial Models," Advances in Econometrics,in: Spatial Econometrics: Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables, volume 37, pages 223-258 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    13. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis, 2013. "Does Knowledge Accumulation Increase the Returns to Collaboration?," NBER Working Papers 19694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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