Labor mobility of scientists, technological diffusion, and the firm's patenting decision

Jinyoung Kim, Gerald Marschke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Citations (Scopus)


We develop and test a model of the patenting and R&D decisions of an innovating firm whose scientist-employees sometimes quit to join or start a rival. In our model, the innovating firm patents to protect Itself from its employees. We show theoretically that the risk of a scientist's departure reduces the firm's R&D expenditures and raises its propensity to patent an innovation. We find evidence from firm-level panel data that is consistent with this latter result. Our results suggest that scientists ' turnover is associated with cross-industry patenting variation and with recent economy-wide increases in patenting. Scientists' turnover may also partly account for why small firms have high patent-R&D ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-317
Number of pages20
JournalRAND Journal of Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this