Get access



  • Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the World Intellectual Property Organization or its member states.

  • We would like to thank the editor, Mark Partridge, and three anonymous referees for valuable comments. We also received many helpful comments from the participants at the Brown Bag Discussion Meetings (Bocconi University—March 2010), the AQR Lunch Seminars (University of Barcelona—May 2010), the XIII Encuentro de Economía Aplicada, (Seville—June 2010), the Zvi Griliches Summer School on the Economics of Innovation (Barcelona—July 2010), the 50th Annual Meeting of the Western Regional Science Association (Monterey, California—March 2011), the 51st European Regional Science Association Conference (Barcelona—September 2011), the 36th Simposio de la Asociación Española de Economía (Málaga—December 2011), Camilla Lenzi, Francesco Lissoni, Johannes Rode, and Jouke van Dijk. We also acknowledge financial support from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, ECO2011–30260-C03–03, and Ernest Miguélez, from the Ministerio de Educación, AP2007–00792 and the European Science Foundation, for the activity entitled “Academic Patenting in Europe.” However, any mistakes or omissions remain ours.


The aim of this paper is to identify the determinants of the geographical mobility of skilled individuals, such as inventors, across European regions. Among a large number of variables, we focus on the role of social proximity between inventors’ communities. We use a control function approach to address the endogenous nature of networks, and zero-inflated negative binomial models to accommodate our estimations to the count nature of the dependent variable and the high number of zeros it contains. Our results highlight the importance of physical proximity, job opportunities, social networks, as well as other relational variables in mediating this phenomenon.