Air Pollution-induced Brain Drain: Evidence from Inventor Mobility

44 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Dongmin Kong

Dongmin Kong

Department of Finance, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; School of Finance, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law

Shasha Liu

School of Management, Jinan University

Jian Zhang

School of Business and Management, Shanghai International Studies University

Date Written: January 21, 2021

Abstract

This study attempts to examine the impact of air pollution on inventor mobility. Specifically, we find that the number of polluting facilities surrounding inventors’ workplaces significantly affects their mobility. To establish causality, we introduce the NOx Budget Trading Program of 2003 as an exogenous shock and find consistent results. We further demonstrate that the air pollution drives inventors to relocate to areas with better air quality. We present several economic mechanisms underlying our findings, including inventors’ career concerns, knowledge generality, and knowledge complementarity. Finally, we show that the net outflow of inventors negatively affects firms’ innovation outputs.

Keywords: air pollution, toxic emissions, inventor, innovation

JEL Classification: J24, J28, Q53, Q56

Suggested Citation

Kong, Dongmin and Liu, Shasha and Zhang, Jian, Air Pollution-induced Brain Drain: Evidence from Inventor Mobility (January 21, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3770365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3770365

Dongmin Kong

Department of Finance, Huazhong University of Science and Technology ( email )

Wuhan, Hubei 430074
China

School of Finance, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law ( email )

Wuhan, Hubei 430073
China

Shasha Liu

School of Management, Jinan University ( email )

No. 601, West Huangpu Road
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632
China

Jian Zhang (Contact Author)

School of Business and Management, Shanghai International Studies University ( email )

550 Dalian Road (West)
Shanghai, Shanghai 200083
China

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