Immigration and innovation: empirical evidence from the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Gaétan de Rassenfosse (EPFL), Gabriele Pellegrino (EPFL) & Julio Raffo, “Immigration and innovation: empirical evidence from the Collapse of the Soviet Union”

This study analyses the impact of a large influx (post-1991) of Soviet inventors on the productivity of their U.S. counterpart, by using a recently constructed dataset that maps migratory patterns of inventors, extracted from patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The database consists of bilateral counts of migrant inventors over more than three decades and with a worldwide coverage. Our identification strategy is based on a difference-in-difference analysis at the inventor level,  which provides causal evidence on whether and to what extent the productivity level of U.S. inventors (proxied by the number of citations received) change after 1992, when they start interacting and collaborating with their Soviet counterparts. Preliminary results show a relevant positive effects ofSoviet inventors on the productivity ofU.S. inventors.