Do Immigrants Return Knowledge Home? The Evidence on Knowledge Dissemination via Wikipedia
AbstractWhile previous studies highlight the positive impact of immigration on cross-border patenting and scientific publications, the role of immigration flows in the dissemination of knowledge in a wider context is not fully assessed. In this paper, I estimate the effect of immigration on the facilitation of online knowledge in relevant domains. To quantify online knowledge, I focus on one of the world's most viewed knowledge platforms, Wikipedia.
I combine the data on (skilled) immigration flows between the pairs of countries of immigrants' origin and destination with contributions to Wikipedia about destination countries in the native languages of origin countries. The knowledge domains I look at are related to science, technology and culture. In order to draw a causal inference, I use spikes in immigration above 30% in the origin countries as exogenous shocks with respect to Wikipedia content and analyze subsequent changes in the rates of contribution to Wikipedia in a difference-in-differences framework. The results suggest that an increase in immigration yields more knowledge contributed to Wikipedia about destination countries on the native languages of the origin countries. The increase in contributions stems mostly from anonymous (potentially, new or occasional) contributors. Moreover, once spikes in skilled immigration are considered, the effects on science and technology domains get stronger.