NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Devesh Kapur

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

December 2008Brain Drain or Brain Bank? The Impact of Skilled Emigration on Poor-Country Innovation
with Ajay Agrawal, John McHale: w14592
The development prospects of a poor country depend in part on its capacity for innovation. The productivity of its innovators depends in turn on their access to technological knowledge. The emigration of highly skilled individuals weakens local knowledge networks (brain drain), but may also help remaining innovators access valuable knowledge accumulated abroad (brain bank). We develop a model in which the size of the optimal innovator diaspora depends on the competing strengths of co-location and diaspora effects for accessing knowledge. Then, using patent citation data associated with inventions from India, we estimate the key co-location and diaspora parameters; the net effect of innovator emigration is to harm domestic knowledge access, on average. However, knowledge access conferr...
January 2007Birds of a Feather - Better Together? Exploring the Optimal Spatial Distribution of Ethnic Inventors
with Ajay Agrawal, John McHale: w12823
We examine how the spatial and social proximity of inventors affects knowledge flows, focusing especially on how the two forms of proximity interact. We develop a knowledge flow production function (KFPF) as a flexible tool for modeling access to knowledge and show that the optimal spatial concentration of socially proximate inventors in a city or nation depends on whether spatial and social proximity are complements or substitutes in facilitating knowledge flows. We employ patent citation data, using same-MSA and co-ethnicity as proxies for spatial and social proximity, respectively, to estimate the key KFPF parameters. Although co-location and co-ethnicity both predict knowledge flows, the marginal benefit of co-location is significantly less for co-ethnic inventors. These results imply...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

 
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