Is Inter-Firm Labor Mobility A Channel Of Knowledge Spillovers? Evidence From A Linked Employer-Employee Panel

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Executive Summary

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.

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