S. Barabuffi, V. Costantini, V. Leone Sciabolazza, E. Paglialunga (2021), Knowledge spillovers through skilled-workers migration network: evidence from OECD countries.

Mission-oriented innovation policies often contributes to the improvement of national production processes. These are ambitious and cross-disciplinary policies tackling clearly defined societal or technological challenges mainly applied through public R&D investment with a market-oriented purpose. The aim of this paper is to analyse the extent to which competitiveness improvement in the technological trajectory determined by such national policies is magnified by knowledge capital spilling from skilled migrants coming from other countries. Technological capabilities developed abroad to design and implement local processes of innovation might provide large benefits via positive externalities, where the capacity to gain from such spillover depends on the relative position of countries in the knowledge network.

In order to conduct our investigation, we propose a simple analytical framework of national innovation system, where the innovation performance of a country –proxied by the number of registered triadic patents–is determined by its investments in mission-oriented innovation policies, weighted by its position in the skilled migration network. The model is then tested using a panel database covering 20 OECD countries for the time span 1987-2016.

A concern with our analysis is that skilled migrants will self-select into destination countries where they will find better opportunities, e.g., where innovation performances are already significantly high. This endogeneity issue might hinder the identification of skilled migration effects, since it might be that higher performances will be mechanically correlated with a higher presence of migrants, but not determined by them. For this reason, we propose an empirical strategy based on a two-step Heckman correction which sorts out such endogeneity concerns and allows a causal interpretation of our results.

Findings from our analysis show that high skilled migration networks magnify the effect of mission-oriented innovation policies in improving national innovation performances, even when controlling for other common drivers of innovation, and time and country fixed effects. On the contrary, being central in middle or low skilled migration networks has no statistically significant effect on innovation production.

At the same time, we find that the role of migrants is heterogeneous across countries. Their contribution to innovation production is highest in host countries where public R&D investments are still relatively low. On the contrary, the extent to which migrants’ origin countries invest in mission-oriented policies does not exert any significant effect on their ability to contribute to innovation processes in the host country. This suggests that skilled migration is valuable to innovation regardless of its national composition, and it is most valuable when host countries are still on a catching-up path.

D. F. De Souza, M. Fontana, M. Iori, V. Leone Sciabolazza, Specialization vs Interdisciplinarity.

Using data on 26,926 focal articles published by 6,105 researchers affiliated to the University of Florida in the period 2008-2013, we evaluate the extent to which a variation in a paper interdisciplinarity affects the accruing of citations and the extramural influence of these researchers. We find that scholars’ performance and reach depends on the dimension of interdisciplinarity being explored. Consistent with this, we identify a trade-off between the accumulation of citations and the dispersion of citations across fields of study. We conclude that the costs of interdisciplinary research are important enough to negatively impact researchers academic careers, but the public benefits arising from knowledge diffusion across domains are substantive and cannot be dismissed.

L. Forastiere, V. Leone Sciabolazza, C. Tortú (2020), Dyadic Treatment Effect on Network Formation using Multi-level Propensity Score Matching: Lobbying Activities and Legislative Collaborations.

Firms and corporate companies often work to sway a legislator agenda. For instance, they financially support the electoral campaign of political candidates running for a seat, trying to influence their political activity once elected. It is thus natural to expect that politicians funded by the same firms will collaborate in Congress to achieve the goals of their funders.

In this work, given the bipartite network of financial support from firms to politicians, we define a network of strong ties between congress members where a strong tie is present if the two politicians have a substantial number of common supporters. We then use this network of support ties and the network of collaborations to evaluate the effect for two elected politicians of being supported by common firms on their legislative collaboration.

To conduct our analysis, we develop an estimator for causal effects of the formation of links on a ‘treatment network’ on the formation of links on an ‘outcome network’, with both networks being directed. The estimator is based on an extension of the propensity score matching approach to handle multi-valued treatments, network data and conditional effects.

Using data from the US House of Representatives (111-113 Congress), our results show that sharing common supporters encourages collaborations among politicians.

D. Del Prete, V. Leone Sciabolazza, G. Santoni, Trade Policy and the Network of Global Value Chains, in preparation.

The international fragmentation of production processes is dramatically deepening the structural interdependence of the world economy. Recent literature has shown that global value chains are modifying countries’ incentives to impose import protection. However the complex structure of their connections entails the existence of specific direct and indirect effects that affect the price domestic suppliers receive. The aim of this paper is to show that final goods tariffs tend to decrease in the domestic content of foreign-produced final goods but at a different pace when distinguishing the direct partner country from third countries. To get the two separate contributions, we decompose the Leontief inverse matrix into its direct and indirect connections and recompute the domestic and foreign valued added content embodied in final goods. Our results show that both direct and indirect flows play a crucial role in shaping trade policy.

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