German-Jewish Emigres and U.S. Invention

64 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2014 Last revised: 30 Sep 2014

See all articles by Petra Moser

Petra Moser

NYU Stern Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alessandra Voena

University of Chicago

Fabian Waldinger

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

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Date Written: March 2014

Abstract

Historical accounts suggest that Jewish émigrés from Nazi Germany revolutionized U.S. science. To analyze the émigrés' effects on chemical innovation in the U.S. we compare changes in patenting by U.S. inventors in research fields of émigrés with fields of other German chemists. Patenting by U.S. inventors increased by 31 percent in émigré fields. Regressions that instrument for émigré fields with pre-1933 fields of dismissed German chemists confirm a substantial increase in U.S. invention. Inventor-level data indicate that émigrés encouraged innovation by attracting new researchers to their fields, rather than by increasing the productivity of incumbent inventors.

Suggested Citation

Moser, Petra and Voena, Alessandra and Waldinger, Fabian, German-Jewish Emigres and U.S. Invention (March 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19962. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2406804

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alessandra Voena

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Fabian Waldinger

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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