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

Author

Listed:
  • Kirk B. Doran

    (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

  • George J. Borjas

    (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

Abstract

Many economists believe that knowledge production generates positive spillovers among knowledge producers. We argue that spillovers may exist on at least three dimensions (in idea, geographic, and collaboration space), and that the strength or weakness of the spillover effects can vary across these dimensions. Using a unique data set that contains information on all publications of active mathematicians in the former Soviet Union, we examine the impact of a large post-­1992 exodus of Soviet mathematicians on the output of the non-­emigres. We find that a supply shock in the space of ideas (i.e., where the exodus consists of peers who work in similar topics) increases the output of the non-­emigres. However, neither a supply shock in geographic space (i.e., where the émigrés are members of the same university department) nor in collaboration space (i.e., where the emigres consist of coauthors) has a statistically significant effect on the output of a typical mathematician. We find evidence of human capital externalities only if the supply shock in collaboration space involves the loss of high-­quality coauthors. Spillovers, therefore, are most likely to be empirically important and dominate the competitive forces unleashed by a supply shock when high-­quality researchers are directly engaged in the joint production of new knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirk B. Doran & George J. Borjas, 2013. "Which Peers Matter? The Relative Impacts of Collaborators, Colleagues, and Competitors," Working Papers 021, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:021
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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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    2. Cristelli, Gabriele & Lissoni, Francesco, 2020. "Free movement of inventors: open-border policy and innovation in Switzerland," MPRA Paper 107433, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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 & Goette, Lorenz & Haenni, Simon & Jiang, Lingqing, 2020. "Spillovers of prosocial motivation: Evidence from an intervention study on blood donors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    5. Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2020. "The Role of Conferences on the Pathway to Academic Impact Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 164-193.
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    8. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Pham, Tho & Talavera, Oleksandr, 2021. "Conference presentations and academic publishing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 228-254.
    9. Thomas Cornelissen, 2016. "Do social interactions in the workplace lead to productivity spillover among co-workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 314-314, November.
    10. Tur, Elena M. & Azagra-Caro, Joaquín M., 2018. "The coevolution of endogenous knowledge networks and knowledge creation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 424-434.
    11. 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).
    12. Christos Kolympiris & Sebastian Hoenen & Peter G. Klein, 2019. "Learning by Seconding: Evidence from National Science Foundation Rotators," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(3), pages 528-551, May.
    13. Bruno S. Frey & Anthony Gullo, 2020. "Sic transit gloria mundi: What remains of famous economists after their deaths?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 123(1), pages 283-298, April.
    14. Frakes, Michael D. & Wasserman, Melissa F., 2021. "Knowledge spillovers, peer effects, and telecommuting: Evidence from the U.S. Patent Office," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    15. Cristelli, Gabriele & Lissoni, Francesco, 2020. "Free movement of inventors: open-border policy and innovation in Switzerland," MPRA Paper 104120, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Emeric Henry & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Peer Effects in Academic Research: Senders and Receivers," Sciences Po publications 2019-16, Sciences Po.
    17. Peter Burridge & J. Paul Elhorst & Katarina Zigova, 2016. "Group Interaction in Research and the Use of General Nesting Spatial Models," Advances in Econometrics, in: Badi H. Baltagi & James P. Lesage & R. Kelley Pace (ed.), Spatial Econometrics: Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables, volume 37, pages 223-258, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    18. Rodrigo Perez-Silva & Mark D. Partridge & William E. Foster, 2019. "Are foreign-born researchers more innovative? Self-selection and the production of knowledge among PhD recipients in the USA," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 557-594, December.
    19. Francesca Gioia, 2019. "Incentive schemes and peer effects on risk behaviour: an experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 87(4), pages 473-495, November.
    20. Georg, Co-Pierre & Opolot, Daniel & Rose, Michael, 2019. "Discussants," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203575, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. Squires, Dale & Vestergaard, Niels, 2018. "Rethinking the commons problem: Technical change, knowledge spillovers, and social learning," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-25.
    22. Wei Cheng & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2021. "Marginalized and Overlooked? Minoritized Groups and the Adoption of New Scientific Ideas," NBER Working Papers 29179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Francesco D’Acunto & Geoffrey Tate & Liu Yang, 2020. "Entrepreneurial Teams: Diversity of Skills and Early-Stage Growth," Working Papers 20-45, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    24. 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.
    25. Asier Minondo, 2020. "Comments are welcome," Papers 2001.08376, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2020.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emigration;

    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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