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

  • George J. Borjas
  • Kirk B. Doran

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20026.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20026
Note: LS
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  1. George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," NBER Working Papers 17800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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 193-97, May.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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