NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Mover's Advantage: Scientific Performance of Mobile Academics

Chiara Franzoni, Giuseppe Scellato, Paula Stephan

NBER Working Paper No. 18577
Issued in November 2012
NBER Program(s):   LS

We investigate performance differentials associated with mobility for research active scientists residing in a broad spectrum of countries and working in a broad spectrum of fields using data from the GlobSci survey. We distinguish between two categories of mobile scientists: (1) those studying or working in a country other than that of origin and (2) those who have returned to their native country after a spell of study or work abroad. We compare the performance of these mobile scientists to natives who have never experienced a spell of mobility and are studying or working in their country of origin. We find evidence that mobile scientists perform better than those who have not experienced mobility. Among the mobile, we find some evidence that those who return perform better than the foreign born save in the United States, suggesting that positive selection is not at work in determining who remains outside the country. This is supported by the finding that for most countries the performance of returnees is no different than that of compatriots who remain abroad after controlling for other effects.

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