Intellectual Returnees as Drivers of Indigenous Innovation: Evidence from the Chinese Photovoltaic Industry
We offer new evidence on indigenous innovation and intellectual returnees by estimating the relationship between patenting by Chinese photovoltaic firms and the presence of corporate leaders with international experience. Our research approach combines data from three sources: the industrial census, international and domestic patent records, and leadership biographical information. Using nonlinear methods, we find robust evidence that returnees positively influence patenting activity and also promote neighboring firm innovation. We find no tendency for export intensive firms to patent more. Controlling for R&D expenditures, we find that firms with returnees in leadership roles have more patents.
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