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Mobility of inventors and the geography of knowledge spillovers. New evidence on US data

Stefano Breschi () and Francesco Lissoni

No 184, KITeS Working Papers from KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy

Abstract: In this paper we exploit new data on US inventors in Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotechnology to revisit the JTH test of the localization of knowledge spillovers (Jaffe, Trajtenberg, and Henderson; 1993). We find that inventors who patent across different companies contribute extensively to the observed citation patterns, both directly (through personal self-citations) and indirectly, by linking the various companies via a social network conducive to more citations. To the extent that the geographical mobility of these “cross-firm” inventors is quite limited, the resulting social networks and citations patterns are found to be bounded in space. We conclude that spatial distance, as measured in the JTH experiment, is just a proxy for a much more important variable, such as social distance between inventors. In a similar vein, we show that technological distance, introduced by Thompson and Fox-Kean (2005) to question the soundness of the JTH experiment, is also a proxy of social distance.

Keywords: Knowledge diffusion; Localized spillovers; Social networks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 R12 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-ino, nep-knm, nep-soc, nep-tid and nep-ure
Date: 2006-10, Revised 2006-10
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (24) Track citations by RSS feed

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