47 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2010
Date Written: August 2010
Is the phenomenon of multinational firms (MNCs) conducting distributed R&D across emerging markets related to the return migration of engineers and scientists from the U.S. to emerging markets? I hypothesize that local inventors at emerging market R&D centers of MNCs face constraints in securing resources from the headquarters for knowledge creation projects and that returnees can act as resource brokers. I then test for whether or not reporting to a returnee manager leads to higher patenting. I test this using hand-collected employment, travel, demographic and patent data for 1315 inventors at a Fortune 50 multinational R&D center in India. To account for endogenity and selection in measuring the impact of returnee managers, I consider new graduates, for whom manager assignment is plausibly random. I find that having a returnee manager leads to higher patenting. I also find support for the resource brokerage role of returnees - having a returnee manager leads to higher patenting but not higher headquarter co-patentees or patent citations back at the headquarters. In summary, this is one of the first empirical studies of return migration and multinationals using firm level micro data.
Keywords: Return Migration, Knowledge Creation, Multinationals, R&D
JEL Classification: F23, O32, O31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Choudhury, Prithwiraj, Return Migration and Distributed R&D in Multinationals – A Study Using Micro Data (August 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1675043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1675043