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Inventor Diasporas And The Internationalization Of Technology

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  • Miguelez Ernest

Abstract

This paper documents the influence of diaspora networks of high-skilled individuals - i.e., inventors - on international technological collaborations. By means of gravity models, it studies the determinants of the internationalization of inventive activity between a group of industrialized countries and a sample of developing and emerging economies. The paper examines in detail the influence exerted by skilled diasporas in fostering cross-country co-inventorship as well as R&D offshoring. The study finds a strong and robust relationship between inventor diaspora and different forms of international co-patenting. However, the effect is decreasing with the level of formality of the interactions. Interestingly, some of the most successful diasporas lately documented ? namely, Chinese and Indian ones ? do not govern the results. Migrant networks may smooth the obstacles to the internationalization of inventive activity. They create trust across national boundaries, provide information on market opportunities and, in general, reduce transaction costs of economic interactions between countries. Diaspora networks have been studied in the context of trade (Gould, 1994), FDI (Javorcik et al., 2011; Kugler and Rapoport, 2007), and international diffusion of ideas (Agrawal et al., 2011; Kerr, 2008). In parallel, numerous papers have investigated the internationalization of R&D activities (Guellec and van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2001; Patel and Vega, 1999; Picci, 2010). To the best of my knowledge, however, no study has looked at the role of high-skilled diasporas in fostering international technological collaborations. To anticipate the results to come, I find a robust and sizeable effect of high-skilled diasporas on the internationalization of inventive activity between developed, receiving countries and developing, sending economies. The effect is statistically and economically significant: a 10-percent increase in the inventor diaspora abroad is associated with a 1.5 to 2.2 percent increase in international patent collaborations. The evidence found survives the inclusion of a large number of controls, fixed-effects (FE), robustness checks, and identification issues. Moreover, the effect is stronger for inventor-to-inventor collaborations ? co-inventorship ? than for applicant-to-inventor co-patents ? R&D offshoring, suggesting that diaspora effects mediate particularly interpersonal relations between co-workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguelez Ernest, 2014. "Inventor Diasporas And The Internationalization Of Technology," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1030, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa14p1030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni & Gianluca Tarasconi, 2014. "Inventor Data for Research on Migration and Innovation: A Survey and a Pilot," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 17, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2016. "Global Talent Flows," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 83-106, Fall.
    3. Ufuk Akcigit & Salomé Baslandze & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 2930-2981, October.
    4. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2018. "Global Collaborative Patents," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 235-272, July.
    5. repec:anr:reveco:v:9:y:2017:p:201-234 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2017. "High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 201-234, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General

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