Human Mobility and the Globalization of Knowledge Production: Causal Evidence from Multinational Enterprises

106 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2022 Last revised: 21 Jan 2022

See all articles by Dany Bahar

Dany Bahar

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

Prithwiraj Choudhury

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

James Sappenfield

The Brattle Group

Sara Signorelli

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: January 13, 2022

Abstract

We investigate how reforms that ease or restrict human mobility affect global innovation. We leverage a unique dataset merging patent data with exhaustive information on business-related migration reforms that take place in 15 countries over 26 years, and employ a novel event study approach. Our results show that reforms favoring inventor mobility increase the patenting, including global collaborations, of MNEs within a country, while the opposite is true for reforms discouraging inventor mobility. Further, we show that positive migration reforms partly explain the increasing share of global knowledge production by countries with low initial patenting observed over the past decades. This suggests that policies affecting human mobility contributed to the global shift in the geography of innovation towards emerging markets.

Keywords: Migration, Patents, Technology, Policy Evaluation

JEL Classification: J61, K37, O33, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Bahar, Dany and Choudhury, Prithwiraj and Sappenfield, James and Signorelli, Sara, Human Mobility and the Globalization of Knowledge Production: Causal Evidence from Multinational Enterprises (January 13, 2022). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 22-047, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4005693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4005693

Dany Bahar

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs ( email )

111 Thayer Street
Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
United States

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

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

Prithwiraj Choudhury (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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

James Sappenfield

The Brattle Group ( email )

44 Brattle Street
3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138-3736
United States

Sara Signorelli

University of Amsterdam

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