Inventors' Mobility and Organizations' Productivity: Evidence from Japanese rare name inventors

Author Name SAITO Yukiko  (Senior Fellow, RIETI) /YAMAUCHI Isamu  (Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. November 2015 15-E-128
Research Project Mobility of Knowledge and Innovation Performance
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This paper investigates the relationship between inventors' mobility and organizations' productivity by constructing a database of patent inventors. We focus on inventors with rare names in order to avoid the problem of identifying distinct inventors with the same name. Tracing the inventors' transfers between organizations, we find the following. First, mobile inventors are more productive than stable inventors who have never transferred. Second, inventors with higher ex ante productivity have a higher frequency of transfers, while the effect of transfers on their ex post productivity for productive inventors is the opposite compared with that of less productive inventors. Thus, ex ante productivity may explain a large part of the higher productivity of mobile inventors relative to stable inventors. Third, the productivity of stable inventors is higher in an organization where inventors have more experience in different organizations. These results suggest the existence of knowledge spillover from mobile inventors to stable inventors, which leads to organizations' high productivity.