Return Migration and Geography of Innovation in Multinational Enterprises: A Natural Experiment of Knowledge Production by Local Workers Reporting to Return Migrants
Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury studies whether return migrants facilitate knowledge production by local employees working for them at geographically distant R&D locations. Using unique personnel and patenting data for 1315 employees at the Indian R&D center of a Fortune 500 technology firm, his paper exploits a natural experiment where the assignment of managers for newly hired college graduates is mandated by rigid HR rules and is uncorrelated to observable characteristics of the graduates. Given this assignment protocol, the paper finds that local employees with returnee managers file disproportionately more US patents. It also finds some evidence that return migrants facilitate knowledge transfer from the headquarters to local employees.
Raj Choudhury, Harvard Business School