Building on Immigrant Knowledge: Non-Ethnic Community Inventors and Knowledge Sourcing Behavior

Francesco Di Lorenzo, Anupama Phene, Paul Almeida, Larissa Rabbiosi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Immigrant inventors have played an important role in fostering innovation in their host economies, and previous research has examined the role of knowledge flows within ethnic communities. The present paper adopts a novel perspective on immigrant inventors by exploring the influence of ethnic Indian inventors in the U.S. on non-Indian scientists and engineers. Using a sociological lens, we examine Indian inventors’ embeddedness in their ethnic communities, and also in organizational, technological and geographic communities alongside non-Indian inventors. These latter communities facilitate knowledge flows across ethnicities. We test our predictions using patent data, and data on Indian immigrants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Our results support the idea of knowledge sourcing by non-Indian inventors from the ethnic Indian community. We find that the extent of this knowledge sourcing is influenced positively by the increased presence of Indians inventors in organizational and technological communities, and by the presence of outstanding and skilled workers and family members in the case of geographic communities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages31
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


  • Immigrant inventors
  • Ethnic communities
  • Knowledge flows
  • Non-community members
  • Indians

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