NBER Working Papers by Daniel Wilson

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers onlyInformation about this author at RePEc

Working Papers

April 2015The Effect of State Taxes on the Geographical Location of Top Earners: Evidence from Star Scientists
with Enrico Moretti: w21120
Using data on the universe of U.S. patents filed between 1976 and 2010, we quantify how sensitive is migration by star scientist to changes in personal and business tax differentials across states. We uncover large, stable, and precisely estimated effects of personal and corporate taxes on star scientists’ migration patterns. The long run elasticity of mobility relative to taxes is 1.6 for personal income taxes, 2.3 for state corporate income tax and -2.6 for the investment tax credit. The effect on mobility is small in the short run, and tends to grow over time. We find no evidence of pre-trends: Changes in mobility follow changes in taxes and do not to precede them. Consistent with their high income, star scientists migratory flows are sensitive to changes in the 99th percentile marginal...
August 2013State Incentives for Innovation, Star Scientists and Jobs: Evidence from Biotech
with Enrico Moretti: w19294
We evaluate the effects of state-provided financial incentives for biotech companies, which are part of a growing trend of placed-based policies designed to spur innovation clusters. We estimate that the adoption of subsidies for biotech employers by a state raises the number of star biotech scientists in that state by about 15 percent over a three year period. A 10% decline in the user cost of capital induced by an increase in R&D tax incentives raises the number of stars by 22%. Most of the gains are due to the relocation of star scientist to adopting states, with limited effect on the productivity of incumbent scientists already in the state. The gains are concentrated among private sector inventors. We uncover little effect of subsidies on academic researchers, consistent with the fa...

Published: Moretti, Enrico & Wilson, Daniel J., 2014. "State incentives for innovation, star scientists and jobs: Evidence from biotech," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 20-38. citation courtesy of

May 2012Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment
with Sylvain Leduc: w18042
We examine the dynamic macroeconomic effects of public infrastructure investment both theoretically and empirically, using a novel data set we compiled on various highway spending measures. Relying on the institutional design of federal grant distributions among states, we construct a measure of government highway spending shocks that captures revisions in expectations about future government investment. We find that shocks to federal highway funding has a positive effect on local GDP both on impact and after 6 to 8 years, with the impact effect coming from shocks during (local) recessions. However, we find no permanent effect (as of 10 years after the shock). Similar impulse responses are found in a number of other macroeconomic variables. The transmission channel for these responses appe...


August 2003Importing Technology
with Francesco Caselli: w9928
We look at disaggregated imports of various types of equipment to make inferences on cross-country differences in the composition of equipment investment. We make three contributions. First, we document strikingly large differences in investment composition. Second, we explain these differences as being based on each equipment type's degree of complementarity with other factors whose abundance differs across countries. Third, we show that the composition of capital has the potential to account for some of the large observed differences in TFP across countries.


  • Caselli, Francesco, and Daniel J. Wilson. "Importing Technology," Journal of Monetary Economics 51(1): 1-32, January 2004 citation courtesy of
  • Francesco Caselli & Daniel Wilson, 2002. "Importing technology," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov. citation courtesy of

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers onlyInformation about this author at RePEc

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us