Seminar Wednesday 12 February 2014
Peer Learning, Labor Mobility, and Knowledge Diffusion
This paper measures the effect of mobility between workplaces on the speed at which new ideas diffuse. Using a new panel data set linking academics to departments and citations, I develop and estimate a dynamic model of location choice in which an idea is more likely to be encountered when colleagues already know about it. Several exercises indicate that coworker knowledge significantly affects the probability of learning about a new idea. Counterfactual exercises show that labor mobility increases the speed at which new ideas spread between locations, makes locations more uniform in the fraction of people who know about a new idea, and raises the percentage of people who know about a new idea at a given time. A calibration using results from my baseline estimation indicates that international movement of workers can have a large effect on diffusion of knowledge into a developing country.
Contact: Marcus Asplund