Migration, Globalization and the Knowledge Economy

Session organisers

Ernest Miguelez, CNRS-University of Bordeaux
Andrea Morrison, Utrecht University
Marte C. W. Solheim, University of Stavanger
Stefano Breschi, Bocconi University


Migration plays a key role in today’s knowledge economies, as it helps introducing and diffusing innovations that feed economic growth and well-being. In 2013, the worldwide stock of migrants stood at 230 million, or 3.2% of worldwide population, with tertiary-educated men and women representing a substantial and increasing share of it. Far from taking place exclusively along a south–north or east–west axis, such highly skilled migration occurs also between advanced economies, especially for doctoral holders, engineers and scientists, who contribute both to knowledge creation in destination countries and to its diffusion worldwide. The importance of short-term and circular migration is also growing, fuelled in particular by students, academic scientists, professionals and executives of multinational enterprises. Several economic disciplines contribute to our understanding of the phenomenon, including economic geography, innovation economics and the economics of science, labour economics, or development economics, among many others.

This special session explores the various ways in which migration, particularly high-skilled, affects innovation, globalization and the knowledge economy. A non-exhaustive list of topics of interest includes:

  • The role of high-skilled migration in fostering innovation in receiving countries – present and historical perspectives.
  • The relationship between diversity and innovation at the team, firm, local and country level.
  • Historical studies of skilled migration and/or long term effects on the innovation in destination countries.
  • Diversity and innovation: hereunder intersectionality and how various diversity constructs are interwoven and affect innovation, differently.
  • Differences in training and career pathways of migrants and native-born skilled workers.
  • The role of skilled diasporas in knowledge diffusion.
  • The mobility decisions of skilled migrants (constraints and incentives to outgoing, return and circular migration; positive vs negative self-selection; role of diaspora/network ties). One example being “Communities-on-the-move” (CoM) and how that shapes migratory patterns (and consequently innovation).
  • Temporary migration and knowledge sharing.
  • The emerging role of MNC in shaping scientists’ and engineers’ migration flows.
  • Skilled migrants and the internationalization of capital flows.
  • The effect of changes in migration policies on skilled migrations and international collaborations.
  • The role of migrants, diversity and MNCs in shaping regional path development.
  • Migration and innovation-based start-ups formation.
  • The role of skilled migrants in shaping academic entrepreneurship and university-industry collaboration.
  • Gender and skilled migrants: gender diversity, migrant diversity

We aim to bring together scholars interested in the above topics, whether engaged in theoretical, empirical or methodological research.


  • University of Stavanger - Norway


  • Lyse Energi
  • Research Council of Norway
  • stavanger kommune
GEOINNO2020 is over. Thank you all 411 who came to Stavanger for these three days!