Is Inter-Firm Labor Mobility a Channel of Knowledge spillovers? Evidence from a Linked Employer-Employee Panel

Mika Maliranta, Pierre Mohnen & Petri Rouvinen


An employer-employee panel is used to study whether the movement of workers across firms is a channel of unintended diffusion of R&D-generated knowledge. Somewhat surprisingly, hiring workers from others' R&D labs to one's own does not seem to be a significant spillover channel. Hiring workers previously in R&D to one's non-R&D activities, however, boosts both productivity and profitability. This is interpreted as evidence that these workers transmit knowledge that can be readily copied and implemented without much additional R&D effort.

JEL codes: D62, J24, J62, L25, O31. Keywords: Labor mobility, R&D spillovers, Profitability, Linked employer-employee data.

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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