Migration, Knowledge Diffusion and the Comparative Advantage of Nations

Dany Bahar, Hillel Rapoport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The diffusion of tacit knowledge involves direct human interactions. This implies that the international diffusion of knowledge should follow the pattern of international migration. We test this idea using cross-country productivity spillovers leading to new exports as proxy for knowledge diffusion. We find that a 10% increase in immigration from exporters of a given product is associated with a 2% increase in the likelihood that the host country starts exporting that good ‘from scratch’ in the next decade. The results appear stronger for highly-skilled migrants, qualitatively similar for emigrants and robust to instrumenting for migration in a gravity framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F273-F305
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number612
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 Royal Economic Society


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