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Cognitive Mobility - Labor Market Responses to Supply Shocks in the Space of Ideas

Author

Listed:
  • Kirk B. Doran

    () (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

  • George J. Borjas

    () (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

Abstract

Knowledge producers who are conducting research on a particular set of questions may respond to supply and demand shocks by shifting their resources to a different set of questions. Cognitive mobility measures the transition from one locations in an idea space to another location in that space. This paper examines the cognitive mobility flows unleashed by the influx of a large number of Soviet mathematicians into the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our analysis exploits the fact that the influx of Soviet mathematicians into the American mathematics community was larger in some fields than in others. The data reveal substantial cognitive mobility in response to the influx, with American mathematicians moving away from, rather than moving to, fields that likely received large numbers of Soviet emigres. It appears that diminishing returns in specific research areas, rather than beneficial human capital spillovers, dominated the cognitive mobility decisions of pre-existing knowledge producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirk B. Doran & George J. Borjas, 2012. "Cognitive Mobility - Labor Market Responses to Supply Shocks in the Space of Ideas," Working Papers 019, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:019
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    File URL: http://www3.nd.edu/~tjohns20/RePEc/deendus/wpaper/019_cognitive.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joan Llull, 2012. "Immigration, Wages, and Education: a Labor Market Equilibrium Structural Model," 2012 Meeting Papers 366, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. 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.
    3. Fabian Waldinger, 2010. "Quality Matters: The Expulsion of Professors and the Consequences for PhD Student Outcomes in Nazi Germany," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 787-831, August.
    4. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 31-56, April.
    5. Ran Abramitzky & Isabelle Sin, 2014. "Book Translations As Idea Flows: The Effects Of The Collapse Of Communism On The Diffusion Of Knowledge," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1453-1520, December.
    6. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Jialan Wang, 2010. "Superstar Extinction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 549-589.
    7. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, July.
    8. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 224-245, January.
    9. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2000. "Age and the Quality of Work: The Case of Modern American Painters," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 761-777, August.
    10. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Xie, Bin, 2017. "The Effects of Immigration Quotas on Wages, the Great Black Migration, and Industrial Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:2006-2040 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:nbr:nberch:14102 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pierre Azoulay & Jeffrey L. Furman & Joshua L. Krieger & Fiona E. Murray, 2012. "Retractions," NBER Working Papers 18499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lawson, Cornelia & Soós,Sándor, 2014. "A Thematic Mobility Measure for Econometric Analysis," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201408, University of Turin.
    7. Christian Helmers & Henry G. Overman, 2017. "My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2006-2040, September.
    8. Andreas Beerli & Giovanni Peri, 2015. "The Labor Market Effects of Opening the Border: Evidence from Switzerland," NBER Working Papers 21319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Francesco LISSONI, 2016. "Migration and Innovation Diffusion : An Eclectic Survey," Cahiers du GREThA 2016-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    10. Henry Overman & Christian Helmers, 2013. "My precious! The location and di_x000B_ffusion of scientifi_x000C_c research: evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," ERSA conference papers ersa13p654, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Basso, Gaetano & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "The Association between Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 9436, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. 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.
    13. Kirk Doran & Alexander Gelber & Adam Isen, 2014. "The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration Policy on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 20668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive mobility; labor mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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