Mobility in Science

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The thesis consists of three independent chapters. The chapters are all empirical studies of scientists and the role that different types of mobility play in shaping researchers' scientific output and careers.

Chapter 1, uses the liberalization of Swedish work migration, in 2008, to study the effect of immigration on the publishing productivity of incumbent academics in Sweden. The reform led to a sharp increase in the number of Asian academic researchers and PhD-students coming to Sweden. Identification relies on both the suddenness of the supply shock and that departments with past exposure to Asian migration saw relatively larger inflows of Asian migrants. Results show that the supply shock increased the publication output of incumbent researchers. Positive effects are found to be mainly explained by increased publishing productivity of already prolific incumbent researchers. For less productive incumbents, evidence instead suggests crowding-out effects and reduced productivity.

Chapter 2, studies the effects of inter-university mobility on researcher productivity. The study suggests substantial gains from mobility on scientific output. Mobility effects are not explained by promotions taking place jointly with a move. Positive effects are found among individuals who move between universities and not for those who move to or from university colleges. Moreover, we find that the positive effect of moving only applies to researchers in medicine, natural sciences and engineering, and technology, with no effect of mobility found in the social sciences and the humanities.

Chapter 3, investigates the social background of PhD-graduates. Results suggest that parents' characteristics are essential determinants for obtaining a PhD-level education. Of particular importance is if the parent also holds a PhD. This association is gender- and field-specific and is large in comparison to other sources of exposure to researcher careers in the childhood environment. Taken together, the results suggest that the family environment is crucial for obtaining a PhD-level education. Moreover, the study reveals that the existence of intergenerational spillovers also affects patenting and publishing behavior in a later research career.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics


  • Economics of science, Mobility, Scientists, Scientific productivity, Migration
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2019 Oct 11
  • Department of Economics, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-7895-111-6
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7895-112-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2019-10-11 Time: 10:15 Place: EC3:211 External reviewer Name: McHale, John Title: Professor Affiliation: National University of Ireland Galway ---