NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Bhaven N. Sampat

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Working Papers

January 2011The Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge Across Time and Space: Evidence from Professional Transitions for the Superstars of Medicine
with Pierre Azoulay, Joshua S. Graff Zivin: w16683
Are scientific knowledge flows embodied in individuals, or "in the air"? To answer this question, we measure the effect of labor mobility in a sample of 9,483 elite academic life scientists on the citation trajectories associated with individual articles (resp. patents) published (resp. granted) before the scientist moved to a new institution. We find that article-to-article citations from the scientific community at the superstar's origin location are barely affected by their departure. In contrast, article-to-patent citations, and especially patent-to-patent citations, decline at the origin location following a star's departure, suggesting that spillovers from academia to industry are not completely disembodied. We also find that article-to-article citations at the superstar's destinatio...

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