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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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    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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