Beyond Scientific Excellence: Are Internationally Mobile Researchers more Likely to Become Academic Entrepreneurs?

Wolf-Hendrik Uhlbach, Valentina Tartari, H.C. Kongsted

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper extends a growing body of literature on high-value immigrant entrepreneurship to a non-Anglo-Saxon setting. We ask whether there is a premium or discount for immigrants in terms of entrepreneurial entry. Answering this question in the context of academia and comparing immigrants to natives with international experience, returnees, we reduce the potential for confounding effects of education as well as international mobility experience per se as compared to previous studies. We draw on a unique dataset that combines a representative survey of academics in Denmark, their life-time publication records, and information from the Danish business registry. We find evidence that even after controlling for scientific field, performance, and personality traits, immigrant academics in Denmark are significantly less likely to start a company than are Danish returnees. This difference of 6% to 8% suggests that there exist substantial barriers for foreign academics to engage in academic entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventDRUID19 Conference - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 19 Jun 201921 Jun 2019
Conference number: 41


ConferenceDRUID19 Conference
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address


  • Highly-skilled migration
  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • Scientist mobility
  • Immigrant entrepreneurship

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