CSH Talk by Philipp Koch: “The historical role of migrants in the geography of knowledge”

Nov 04, 2022 | 15:0016:00

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Phillip Koch from the Université de Toulouse will give a live talk on Friday, November 4 at 3 pm in seminar room 201.


If you would like to attend, please email to office@csh.ac.at.


Title: The historical role of migrants in the geography of knowledge



Did migrants help make Paris a Mecca for the arts and Vienna a beacon of classical music? Or was their rise a pure consequence of local actors?

Here, we use data on the biographies of more than 22,000 famous historical individuals born between the years 1000 and 2000 to estimate the contribution of famous immigrants, emigrants, and locals to the knowledge specializations of European regions. We find that the probability that a region develops a specialization in a new activity (physics, philosophy, painting, music, etc.) grows with the presence of immigrants with knowledge on that activity and of immigrants specialized in related activities. Similarly, we find that the probability that a region loses one of its existing areas of specialization decreases with the presence of immigrants specialized in that activity and in related activities.

In contrast, we do not find robust evidence that locals with related knowledge play a statistically significant role in entries or exits. Together, these findings advance our understanding of the role of immigrants, emigrants, and locals in the historical formation of knowledge agglomerations.



Phillip Koch is a PhD Candidate at the Center for Collective Learning at the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Toulouse Institute (Toulouse) and the Université Toulouse I – Capitole, as well as Research Fellow at EcoAustria – Institute for Economic Research in Vienna. He graduated in economics from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and worked as a Junior Researcher at EcoAustria.


Nov 04, 2022


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