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The Diffusion of Knowledge: Evidence from the Jet Age, with Fernando Stipanicic
Best paper award at RIEF Paris meeting 2021.
Best paper award at 3rd Workshop in Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation.
This paper provides new causal evidence of the impact of air travel time on the creation and diffusion of knowledge. We exploit the beginning of the Jet Age as a quasi-natural experiment. We digitize airlines’ historical flight schedules and construct a novel data set of the flight network in the United States. Between 1951 and 1966, travel time between locations more than 2,000 km apart decreased on average by 41%. The reduction in travel time explains 33% of the increase in knowledge diffusion as measured by patent citations. The increase in knowledge diffusion further caused an increase in the creation of new knowledge. The results provide evidence that jet airplanes led to innovation convergence across locations and contributed to the shift in innovation activity towards the South and the West of the United States.
This study examines drivers of knowledge creation within a multinational firm. It shows that knowledge creation, as measured by patents, is increasingly conducted in cross-border collaborative teams of inventors. The econometric analysis documents the importance of cross-border communication and monitoring costs by showing that a higher overlap in business hours is associated with increased cross-border collaboration. This effect is distinct from the effect of physical distance, which matters as well. Moreover, episodes of telecom sector liberalization (and the resulting decline in the cost of international calls) lead to an increase in cross-border collaboration, particularly when the business hour overlap between the headquarters and a subsidiary is larger. This effect is stronger for technology classes where research involves conducting lab experiments and thus more frequent interactions between inventors may be required.
Trading under Uncertainty: Evidence from Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflicts
Urban Amenities and Tourism: Evidence from TripAdvisor, with Vladimir Avetian