The entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) literature has attracted much attention, especially in policy circles. However, the concept suffers from a number of shortcomings: (1) it lacks a clear analytical framework that makes explicit what is cause and what is effect in an EE; (2) while being a systemic concept, the EE has not yet fully exploited insights from network theory, and it is not always clear in what way the proposed elements are connected in an EE; (3) it remains a challenge what institutions (and at what spatial scale) impact on the structure and performance of EE; (4) studies have often focused on the EE in single regions or clusters, but lack a comparative and multi-scalar perspective and (5) the EE literature tends to provide a static framework taking a snapshot of EE without considering systematically their evolution over time. For each of these shortcomings, we make a number of suggestions to take up in future research on EE.
This paper studies the effects of skilled migration on innovation –proxied by patent citations- in European industries between 1994 and 2005, using the French and the UK Labour Force Surveys and the German Microcensus. Highly-educated migrants have a positive effect on innovation, but the effect differs across industries. It is stronger in industries with low levels of overeducation, high levels of FDIs and openness to trade and, finally, in industries with higher ethnic diversity. The aggregate effect of the skilled immigrant is about one third the one of the skilled natives. We tackle the endogeneity of migrants with a set of external and internal instruments.
Fassio, Claudio, Fabio Montobbio, and Alessandra Venturini. “Skilled migration and innovation in European industries.” Research Policy 48, no. 3 (2019): 706-718.
Claudio Fassio Associate Professor at the School of Economics and Management & at CIRCLE Lund University, Sweden
The interview transcript
Janna thank you very much for accepting this invitation to have a coffee break with me, how are you doing?
Thank you very much, it’s great to be here and I’m doing very well, thank you
Great to know, I’m enjoying as usual a very nice and dark this time black Colombian coffee, which coffee are you having today?
I have a lovely cappuccino.
Janna I want to talk with you about very interesting paper you wrote in which you do a critical review of entrepreneurial ecosystems, could you please tell me what the paper was about?
sure so the paper is about the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems, they became very popular and it was mentioned a lot so a lot of policy makers were keen on applying that concept, however it was also a bit confusing and researchers at that time also had hard time to explaining all the bits and parts of that concept, so in our paper we went through systematically different research papers to explain what were the shortcomings of that concept at that time.
That sounds great so I imagined that the key notion of your paper is entrepreneurial ecosystems, do you mind giving us a definition of this concept?
yes of course entrepreneurial ecosystems are ecosystems that support or not entrepreneurship in the region and you could think about Silicon Valley, which is a popular example or another region like Stockholm or Lund, where there are different actors and factors are coordinated in a certain way that they support or not productive entrepreneurship, so we talk about actors, factors, links between them it happens in a region and we promote productive entrepreneurship.
Thank you for that that’s a very important concept indeed, in being in Lund very important to define it there um I want to know now a little bit about the findings of your paper can you tell us something about them please?
yes of course so the findings were about shortcomings as I mentioned and we found that cause and effect in the framework was not really clearly explained, another thing was that we were talking about entrepreneurial ecosystem like a network and we know a lot about networks through network theory and we have network tools but those were not yet applied to that concept, another thing were institutions institutions, such as culture or laws and regulations are very important, we know that, but also that was not really discussed in that concept yet in scientific literature, multiscalar approach was not taking up either, which means that not only looking at networks in one region, but how also how links outside of the region to national and global level play a role, also institutions play a role not only at regional level, but also at national and global levels and that is important to understand how that impact entrepreneurship comparative analysis or comparative approach was not taking up either too much, which means that researchers were focusing on certain regions and explaining that as singular cases and more comparative studies would be good to have and last point was dynamics, many discussions were about static view on entrepreneurship ecosystem, entrepreneurial ecosystem and it’s really interesting to know how we arrived there, how did silicon valley became what it is or how did Stockholm became what it is, how it started um developed their networks and became stronger with time.
So interesting thank you for that I would like you please to tell us a little bit about your personal experience or your personal motivation when you when you wrote this paper?
so this is a concept that supports or not entrepreneurship and of course that is very interesting to know because I’ve been an entrepreneur myself, I had a company and then I studied masters in entrepreneurship so anything that can help entrepreneurs dare to start a company and get support in those questions have been interesting to me.
That’s great to know honestly I’m also an entrepreneur myself and I really enjoyed your reading your paper because of that so, finally I want to ask you about the implications for for policy makers after your paper.
so the relevance to policy is that quality of entrepreneurship differ between different regions and that means that we have different type we can expect to have different types of firms in, as I mentioned Silicon Valley or Ohio or Stockholm or Lund regions and and we should understand not only how the firms themselves act and what they need but also the system they are in the ecosystem they are in, so policy makers should not only stimulate the entrepreneurial firms, but also understand the whole system and address bottlenecks in that system,
That’s really really important indeed and thank you very very much for for that paper for all your valuable insights and of course for having the time to chat with me and I wish you Janna all the best and those were all my questions and hope to see you soon in a coffee break.
My pleasure thank you very much for having me.
Thank you for watching if you’re interested in more details about this academic publication you can find here the link below. Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube or listen to our podcast on Spotify, see you next time bye!
Claudio, thank you very much for accepting this invitation to have a coffee break with me, how are you doing?
I’m good thank you for inviting me. I have to confess today I’m having hot chocolate, it’s too cold for me today, are you having any coffee in Sweden? I’m having a Swedish coffee with some milk slowly getting used to it over the years.
I can imagine that Claudio. I want to talk with you today about the the paper you wrote about skilled migration and innovation in European industries, could you please tell me what the paper was about?
This is a paper co-written with Fabio Montobbio and Alessandra Venturini, my co-authors, what we studied was the impact of skilled immigration on innovation in three European countries, United Kingdom, France and Germany, what we we looked at was the the impact of skilled immigrants on the innovation performances of these countries and we took in particular focus on whether this effect differs across different industries.
And which ones were your key findings?
Our key findings are that we find that the there is an impact of uh skilled immigrants in in these European countries but their contribution to innovation their impact is lower than natives about one-third in our estimates and secondly we find that the impact is differentiated across different industries so we find that not surprisingly when there is some kind of over-education so when immigrants skilled immigrants do jobs that do not require the high level of education that they have their impact on innovation is lower and also we find that in sectors and industries with higher presence of multinational companies and of firms engaged in international trade the impact of skilled immigrants on innovation is higher.
How important that and I imagine from your personal experience being an Italian living in Sweden that can be also very interesting can you share some of the um personal motivation or experience that you had when writing the paper?
Yeah of course being uh working in a country that is different from from your own makes you understand the importance of this you know of these phenomenon, but generally speaking I’m also I was also motivated by the fact that I believe that the movement of ideas that comes through the movement of people is a fascinating phenomenon and benefits both the receiving countries but also the the individuals who engage in this type of of movement by enriching their knowledge and skill set.
Thank you for sharing I completely understand you on that and uh finally, which ones will you say are the most relevant policy implications of your paper?
Well the the first implication is that there is certainly in Europe room for improvement, we were motivated to to start these to this this study by the evidence coming from the from the U.S. where you see that most of the success of companies in the Silicon Valley and in other high-tech industries depend heavily on the inflow of engineers software’s engineers from countries such as China or India but not only those two countries so in in that context it looks like uh you know skilled immigration is a crucial factor what we seem to to find what we find in this in our in our analysis is that in Europe we still need to improve in terms of attracting people, skilled immigrants that are motivated, who could contribute possibly we have we also have a problem of finding the right jobs for this kind of people as shown by our findings on over education but probably one of the most interesting implications of our results is that we find that there are differentiated effects across industries and particularly that industry with a higher internationalisation seem to be better at benefiting from from skilled immigrants, so we what we suggest in the paper is that probably immigration policy and industrial policy could be better linked and in particular giving some more centrality to the role of firms, firms especially those that are interested in the international dimension of their business think about even small entrepreneurial firms that want to be born globals for example from the start and who struggle to find the right competences may benefit particularly for the inflow, from the possibility to hire skilled skilled personnel from abroad so we recommend that industrial policy and migration policy could be a little bit better matched together.
Claudio thank you very much for those valuable and very very relevant insights now and thank you again for your time to have a coffee break with me and I hope to see you soon. Bye bye, thank you. Thank you for watching if you’re interested in more details about this academic publication you can find here the link below, find us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube or listen to our podcast on Spotify see you next time bye!Tags: Europe, Innovation, Migration, Patents, Skills