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Labour as a knowledge carrier: how increased mobilityinfluences entrepreneurship
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Entrepreneurship and innovation. Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, Stockholm.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Entrepreneurship and innovation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8958-7554
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Entrepreneurship and innovation. Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, Stockholm.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8377-1633
2015 (English)In: Journal of Technology Transfer, ISSN 0892-9912, E-ISSN 1573-7047, 1-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) [Artistic work] Published
Abstract [en]

According to the knowledge-based spillover theory of entrepreneurship (KSTE), entrepreneurship is positively associated with the knowledge endowment level. An increase in knowledge expands the opportunity set, which is then exploited by heterogeneous entrepreneurs. The objective of this paper is to empirically test the validity of the KSTE by employing a detailed database comprising more than 19 million observations for the period 2001–2008 at the level of individuals, firms and regions in Sweden. Knowledge is claimed to be partly embodied in labour, implying that an increase in labour mobility can be expected to influence knowledge endowment at the regional level. Our dependent variable is an individual who has remained in a region throughout the time period considered. Controlling for a number of other variables, inter-regional labour inflows and intra-regional mobility levels are shown to exert a strong positive effect on entrepreneurship. This contrasts with inter-regional outflows, which negatively affect entrepreneurial entry. Another noteworthy result is that the probability of exploiting an increased knowledge stock through entrepreneurship increases by 15 % points if the individual has previous experience in starting a firm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer-Verlag New York, 2015. 1-19 p.
Keyword [en]
Entrepreneurship Knowledge-based spillover theory of entrepreneurship Knowledge diffusion Labour mobility
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-183995DOI: 10.1007/s10961-015-9452-5OAI: diva2:913684

QC 20160329

Available from: 2016-03-22 Created: 2016-03-22 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Heterogeneous Innovation and Labour Mobility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Heterogeneous Innovation and Labour Mobility
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Knowledge is a necessary and critically important factor in generating growth and increased prosperity. The extent to which such effects are materialized depends however on its diffusion and how it transcends into innovation, entrepreneurship and growing firms. This doctoral thesis consists of four papers that examine how labor mobility and innovation strategies influence the performance at the firm level with respect to new ventures, firm level growth and innovativeness.


The first paper provides empirical support of the validity of the knowledge-based spillover theory of entrepreneurship by employing a detailed database. The results indicate that both inter-regional labor inflows and intra-regional labor mobility exert a strong positive effect on entrepreneurship, while inter-regional outflows negatively affect entrepreneurial entry.


The second paper examines the influence of the labor mobility of knowledge workers on innovation at the firm level. New evidence are provided that reveals a positive and significant impact of labor mobility on firms’ innovations measured as patent applications.


In the third paper the influence of labor mobility between multinational enterprises (MNEs) and other firms on innovation is investigated. Looking at firms having different owner structures, empirical evidence are provided that particularly domestically owned MNEs generate strong knowledge spillovers to non-MNEs that translates into innovations.


The fourth paper examines the relationship between innovation and firm growth. We implement a classification of innovations based on whether they are explorative or exploitative. The more radical explorative innovations are shown to have a persistent growth effect in the long term, while exploitative innovation increases the labor demand predominantly in the short term.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. iv , 11 p.
TRITA-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2016:03
labor mobility, knowledge spillover, organizational learning, entrepreneurship, heterogeneous innovation
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184120 (URN)978-91-7595-913-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-22, E3, Osquars backe, KTH Campus, Stockholm, 17:44 (English)

QC 20160401

Available from: 2016-04-01 Created: 2016-03-27 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved

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