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Journal Article

International Mobility and Research Careers: Evidence from a Mobility Grant Program


Baruffaldi,  Stefano Horst
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Baruffaldi, S. H., Marino, M., & Visentin, F. (2017). International Mobility and Research Careers: Evidence from a Mobility Grant Program. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017(1). doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2017.128.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-8C24-A
Despite the acknowledged importance of international mobility for science and innovation, there is limited evidence on the effect on researchers of incentives and programs to support it. In this paper we estimate the impact of an international mobility grant program on the careers of 946 researchers in Switzerland. Data from the Swiss National Foundation (SNSF) allow us to implement a Regression Discontinuity Design regression analysis to assess the causal effect of the program on a series of outcomes of interest. Looking at the years that follow the proposed starting year of the grant, awarded applicants result 54% more likely to be abroad in the first year than not awarded applicants. The effect of the grant extends beyond the period founded by the grant it-self. However, in line with the program objectives, return appears likely since this effect is reduced to 18% and is weakly significant on the fifth year. Over the same period, we find no significant effect on scientific productivity, when measured as number of publications, and a weakly significant negative effect, when measured as total number of citations. Similarly, we find no effect on the likelihood of obtaining a professorship position. On the contrary, we find a positive significant effect on the number of new co-authors. We discuss the implications of these results for the understanding of the effects of international mobility and for organizations that intend to support it.