ANET Lab Seminar Series online: Luca Verginer

ANET Lab Seminar Series
Luca Verginer (ETH Zurich): Talent goes to global cities: The world network of scientists’ mobility

Abstract | Global cities boast higher rates of innovation as measured through patent and scientific production. However, the source of the location advantage of innovation hubs is still debated in the literature, with arguments ranging from localized knowledge spillovers to network effects. Thanks to an extensive data set of individual scientist career paths, we shed new light on the role of scientist location choices in determining the superior innovative performance of global cities. We analyze the career paths of around two million researchers over a decade across more than two thousand cities around the globe. First, we show that scientists active in global cities are more productive in terms of citation weighted publications. We then show that this superior performance is in part driven by highly prolific scientists moving and remaining preferentially in global cities, i.e., central cities in the international scientist mobility network. The overall picture that emerges is that global cities are better positioned to attract and retain prolific scientists than more peripheral cities.

Luca Verginer is an economist researching migration of high skill labour, citation dynamics in patents and papers and spatial diffusion of knowledge through the methods of complex systems, temporal network analysis, machine learning and standard econometrics. He is a core contributor of Pathpy, the open source temporal network analysis library. Prior to joining the Chair of Systems Design Team in Zurich, he received a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Trento and a PhD in Economics and Data Science from IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca.