FIW Working Papers | 2013-04
Productivity Effects of Knowledge Transfers through Labour Mobility
The paper addresses the link between productivity and labour mobility. The hypothesis tested is that technology is transmitted across industries through the movement of skilled workers embodying human capital. The embodied knowledge is then diffused within the new environment creating spillovers and leading to productivity improvements. The empirical analysis is based on household survey and industry-level data for a sample of 12 EU countries covering the years 1995-2005. The estimates document the importance of positive cross-sectoral knowledge spillovers and indicate that labour mobility has considerable beneficial effects on industry productivity. Possible endogeneity problems related to labour mobility are tackled by employing a two stage instrumental variables approach. Moreover we show that the spillover effects vary considerably by technology level of the giving industry. While workers moving away from high and medium-tech industries are found to produce positive productivity effects for the receiving industry, no effect is found for those coming from low-tech industries.