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Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion

William Kerr ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2008, vol. 90, issue 3, 518-537

Abstract: This study explores the role of U.S. ethnic scientific and entrepreneurial communities for international technology transfer to their home countries. U.S. ethnic researchers are quantified through an ethnic-name database and individual patent records. International patent citations confirm knowledge diffuses through ethnic networks, and manufacturing output in foreign countries increases with an elasticity of 0.1-0.3 to stronger scientific integration with the U.S. frontier. Specifications exploiting exogenous changes in U.S. immigration quotas address reverse-causality concerns. Exercises further differentiate responses by development stages in home countries. Ethnic technology transfers are particularly strong in high-tech industries and among Chinese economies. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Date: 2008
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