Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?
Labor mobility is often considered to be an important source of knowledge externalities, making it difficult for firms to appropriate returns to R&D investments. In this paper, I argue that inter-firm transfers of knowledge embodied in people should be analyzed within a human capital framework. Testing such a framework using a matched employer-employee data set, I find that the technical staff in R&D-intensive firms pays for the knowledge they accumulate on the job through lower wages in the beginning of their career. Later they earn a return on these implicit investments through higher wages. This suggests that the potential externalities associated with labor mobility, at least to some extent, are internalized in the labor market.
"Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?" Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 23(1), 2005, 81-114. citation courtesy of