Migrant Inventors and the Technological Advantage of Nations

71 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019

See all articles by Dany Bahar

Dany Bahar

Brookings Institution; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

Prithwiraj Choudhury

Harvard Business School

Hillel Rapoport

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between the presence of migrant inventors and the dynamics of innovation in the migrants' receiving countries. We find that countries are 25 to 50 percent more likely to gain advantage in patenting in certain technologies given a twofold increase in the number of foreign inventors from other nations that specialize in those same technologies. For the average country in our sample this number corresponds to only 25 inventors and a standard deviation of 135. We deal with endogeneity concerns by using historical migration networks to instrument for stocks of migrant inventors. Our results generalize the evidence of previous studies that show how migrant inventors "import" knowledge from their home countries which translate into higher patenting. We complement our results with micro-evidence showing that migrant inventors are more prevalent in the first bulk of patents of a country in a given technology, as compared to patents filed at later stages. We interpret these results as tangible evidence of migrants facilitating the technology-specific diffusion of knowledge across nations.

Keywords: innovation, migration, patent, technology, knowledge

JEL Classification: O310, O330, F220

Suggested Citation

Bahar, Dany and Choudhury, Prithwiraj and Rapoport, Hillel, Migrant Inventors and the Technological Advantage of Nations (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7690. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3409136

Dany Bahar (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Prithwiraj Choudhury

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Hillel Rapoport

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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