Migrations, communities-on-the-move and knowledge flows: An empirical analysis of the Spanish provinces in the last decade.

24 November 2016
Versione stampabile

2 PM, Seminar room, Department of Economics and Management

Speaker: Anna D'Ambrosio, University of Turin


This paper investigates the role of regional immigrants and emigrants for the occurrence of innovation-based knowledge flows between regions and foreign countries. Drawing on the evolutionary economic geography literature on knowledge diffusion and on the role of proximity for it, we posit that immigrants (emigrants)  act as a transnational knowledge bridge between the host (home) regions and their origin (destination) countries, and thus facilitate the occurrence of innovation-based knowledge flows between them. We also argue that the social capital of both the hosting and moving communities reinforce such a knowledge bridging role, as well as their commonality of language and migrants' human capital . By combining OECD patent data with official national data on residents and electors abroad, we test our hypotheses by applying a gravity model to the knowledge flows between the Spanish provinces (NUTS3) and a number of foreign countries in different periods of the last decade. As expected, both immigration and emigration are found to  contribute to the innovation-based knowledge flows at hand; the effect is stronger for more skilled migrants; andsocial capital of both the moving and of the hosting community is found to  positively moderate the effect that migration has on knowledge flows. The impact of migration is stronger with non-Spanish speaking countries, pointing to a language-bridging role of migrants. Overall, individual and community aspects combine in accounting for the impact of migrations on knowledge flows.

Key-words: Migrations; communities-on-the-move; innovation-based knowledge flows; social capital.
JEL codes: R11; F22; O33.  

The paper is co-authored with Sandro Montresor (Kore University of Enna - IT), Mario Davide Parrilli (University of Bournemouth - UK), Francesco Quatraro (4BRICK, Collegio Carlo Alberto - IT)