Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Consequences of the Post-Accession Migration of Polish Inventors for the Innovative Potential of Poland: 2004-2012

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Consequences of the Post-Accession Migration of Polish Inventors for the Innovative Potential of Poland: 2004-2012

Article excerpt

Introduction

Both political and economic discussions increasingly pay attention to the problems connected with human migration, which in many Eastern European countries, including Poland, intensified in the aftermath of their accession to the European Union (Grabowska-Lusińska, Okólski, 2008, 2009; Kaczmarczyk, 2015; Lesińska et al., 2014; Okólski, 2009). In particular, politicians in different countries are concerned with the outflow of more talented and skilled citizens because it results in a loss of their knowledge and skills, and this reduces the ability to absorb and generate innovations domestically.

Inventors may be considered part of the group of people characterized by the highest human capital and - as it is commonly argued - a special contribution into the creation of technical innovations. These technological changes are taking place in the world thanks to the authors of inventions filed for patent protection under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The costs of obtaining an "international patent" - which can cover a vast number of countries - are disproportionately higher than the costs of protection under national or regional laws. It may therefore be assumed that applicants will chose the international procedure only if they themselves consider the economic and commercial potential of their invention to be high enough.

In the light of the above, the aim of this paper is to answer the question of what losses in the form of reduced ability to generate innovations - as measured by the number of PCT inventions and their authors - are incurred by Poland due to human capital outflow from this country.

The paper discusses several questions: (1) how many inventions, including also their breakdown by sectors and technological areas, do the Poles generate in the countries they migrate to? (2) what share of the entire inventive output of Poland do these inventions constitute? and (3) how many Polish authors of inventions, including also their breakdown by gender, live abroad?

In order to address these questions, PCT applications have been first analyzed with regard to the nationalities and places of residence of the inventions' authors. The analysis covers the applications from the countries accounting for the vast majority of international applications, i.e. the USA, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, the Republic of Korea and China as well as the countries showing a large number of these applications in relation to the total number of patent applications in these countries, i.e. the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden (Miguelez, Fink, 2013). Analysis of patent applications by the residents of the abovementioned countries has made it possible to separate those in the case of which the authors of technical inventions are the Poles living in these countries.

Subsequently - in order to answer the question of how many inventions and inventors, in absolute terms, Poland loses due to talents' outflow - the information provided in individual applications was analyzed. Doing this has made it possible to create a unique database covering patent applications filed by the residents of the countries covered by the analysis with characteristics of the inventions filed for protection and their authors - immigrants from Poland.

Finally, in order to estimate the losses incurred by Poland in relative terms, data from the created database have been compared with the number of patent applications filed under the same international procedure by Polish residents. Doing this has made it possible to determine what share of all Polish PCT inventions are the ones generated by the Poles living abroad, i.e. how many inventions Poland loses as compared to its domestic inventive output.

In total, out of PCT applications filed during 2004-2012 by the residents of the USA, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, the Republic of Korea, China, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, 1720 have been identified and analyzed. …

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