Labor Mobility of Scientists and Engineers and the Pace of Innovation
Tick, Simona Lup
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This paper presents a first empirical estimate of the relation between the labor mobility of research personnel, as a measure of knowledgespillovers, and the pace of innovation, measured by the mean backward lag in patent citations. Using an unbalanced panel of firms across eight U.S. industries with the highest rate of innovation as measured by patents granted from 1984 to 1999, the cross-sectional results show evidence of a positive relation between the rate at which scientists and engineers change jobs and the pace of innovation within each industry. When the relation is estimated with industry fixed effects, the estimate on the labor mobility is not longer significant. Therefore, this paper presents an initial cross-sectional result that establishes a stylized fact between labor mobility of research personnel and the pace of innovation that requires further investigation.
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