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Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce

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  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby
  • Maximo Torero

Abstract

Following a breakthrough discovery, scientific knowledge with natural excludability may be best transferred to industry by the labor mobility of top scientists from universities and research institutes to firms. We model labor mobility as a function of scientist's quality (as measured by scientific citations) and his or her reservation wages which is determined by labor quality and the cost of moving, and also depends on the trial frequency, (number of potential firm employers), potential interfering offers from universities, and experienced increase in productivity of top scientists already in firms (reducing reservation values). Applying our model to bioscience and related industries, we find broad support in a group duration analysis. The time a star scientist remains in a university before moving to a firm is significantly decreased as the quality of the bioscientist and as her focus on human genetics increases; decreased as the expected frequency of offers increases with increases in local firms commercializing the technology and the percentage of ties to scientists outside the bioscientist's organization; decreased by experienced increase in productivity by other star scientists nearby who have already moved to firms. Only the number of top quality universities in the local area, via interfering university moves, increases the time a star scientist remains in a university before moving to a firm. We find some evidence of heterogeneity when we decompose the sample of bioscientists by their destination status, finding only quality remains significant across both affiliated scientists (full-time employment in a firm) and linked scientists (part-time employment), with all variables that are significant in the duration model also entering for linked scientists.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Maximo Torero, 1997. "Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce," NBER Working Papers 6050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 1996. "Star Scientists, Institutions, and the Entry of Japanese Biotechnology Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 5795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mike Conlin, 1999. "Empirical Test of a Separating Equilibrium in National Football League Contract Negotiations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 289-304, Summer.
    3. Julia Porter Liebeskind & Amalya Lumerman Oliver & Lynne Zucker & Marilynn Brewer, 1996. "Social networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(4), pages 428-443, August.
    4. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    5. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
    6. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Armstrong, Jeff, 1998. "Geographically Localized Knowledge: Spillovers or Markets?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 65-86, January.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-1266, September.
    8. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-956, July.
    9. Julia Porter Liebeskind & Amalya Lumerman Oliver & Lynne G. Zucker & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1995. "Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms," NBER Working Papers 5320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
    11. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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