Mobile Scientists and International Networks

Giuseppe Scellato, Chiara Franzoni, Paula Stephan

NBER Working Paper No. 18613
Issued in December 2012
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

This paper explores the link between mobility and the presence of international research networks. Data come from the GlobSci survey of authors of articles published in 2009 in four fields of science working in sixteen countries. Summary evidence suggests that migration plays an important role in the formation of international networks. Approximately 40 percent of the foreign-born researchers report having kept research links with colleagues in their country of origin. Non-mobile researchers are less likely to collaborate with someone outside their country than are either the foreign born or returnees. When the non-mobile collaborate, their networks span fewer countries. Econometric results are consistent with the hypothesis that internationally mobile researchers contribute significantly to extending the international scope and quality of the research network in destination countries at no detriment to the quality of the research performed. Results also suggest that the "foreign premium" on collaboration propensity is driven in large part by mobile researchers who either trained or worked outside the destination country where they were surveyed in 2011. With but one exception, the mobility findings persist when we estimate models separately for the US, Europe, and other countries.

download in pdf format
   (287 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18613

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Stephan, Franzoni, and Scellato w18809 Choice of Country by the Foreign Born for PhD and Postdoctoral Study: A Sixteen-Country Perspective
Franzoni, Scellato, and Stephan w18067 Foreign Born Scientists: Mobility Patterns for Sixteen Countries
Franzoni, Scellato, and Stephan w18577 The Mover's Advantage: Scientific Performance of Mobile Academics
Stephan, Scellato, and Franzoni International Competition for PhDs and Postdoctoral Scholars: What Does (and Does Not) Matter
Kahn and MacGarvie The Effects of the Foreign Fulbright Program on Knowledge Creation in Science and Engineering
NBER Videos

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

Contact Us