Geography, Ties, and Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Citations in Mathematics

Seminar Room C, Seminar room C JG Smith building
Wednesday 11 February 2015 (16:00-17:30)

Speaker: Professor Keith Head (University of British Columbia)

The Department of Economics will host a seminar delivered by Keith Head, a Professor at the Sauder School of Business at UBC. The seminar will be entitled 'Geography, Ties, and Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Citations in Mathematics'. 


Using data on academic citations, career histories of mathematicians, and disaggregated distance data for the world's top 1000 math departments, we study how geography and personal ties affect knowledge flows among scholars. The ties we consider are co-authorship, past co-location, advisor-advisee relationships, and alma mater relationships (holding a Ph.D. from the institution where another scholar is affiliated). Using matched choice-based sampling logit regressions, we find that linkages significantly facilitate knowledge flows. Controlling for ties generally halves the negative impact of geographic barriers on citations. Ties matter more for less prominent and more recent papers. Proximity continues to influence knowledge flows even in the era of Google searches.

About the speaker:

Keith Head is a Professor in the Strategy and Business Economics division at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. He holds the HSB Professorship in Asian Commerce. Professor Head teaches courses on international business management and government policies towards business. He obtained his B.A. at Swarthmore College in 1986 and his Ph.D. in economics (supervised by Paul Krugman) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991.

Professor Head's research interests include international trade, multinational enterprises, and economic geography. His recent papers include “The Economics of Cross-border travel” (forthcoming in the Review of Economics and Statistics) and “Quality Sorting Trade: Evidence from French Wine” (Review of Economic Studies, 2012). His current research investigates the gains from trade and the hidden barriers to globalization.

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