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Restructuring innovation systems in India through migration

  • Khadria, B.
  • Meyer, Jean-Baptiste
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Horizon / Pleins textes
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The paper discusses the role of migration in shaping the innovation systems in affected countries. The first section would clarify how the stereotypical benefits of high skill migration are nullified by three dynamic conflicts of interest between the source and the destination countries viz. age, wage and vintage. It would also argue that the relationship between diaspora knowledge networks and development in the home countries is a complex one. The second section would explain the divergence in stakes in the restructuring of the innovation systems between the developed destination countries and the developing origin countries. The formulation of the National Innovation System (NIS), introduced by Freeman (1987, Technology policy and economic performance – lessons from Japan. London: Pinter; 1995, The ‘National System of Innovation’ in Historical Perspective. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 19, 5–24), seems to contextualize these divergences due to restructuring of technology transferred by the migrants. It has been argued that differences in NIS are important explanations of uneven development patterns worldwide. The transfer of technology and innovations has never been easy. Typically, high levels of skill and technical competence are needed in the recipient country. The innovation process surely comprises an area of economic behaviour in which uncertainty and complexity are absolutely central characteristics of the environment; empirical approaches to the problem must, therefore, take far greater cognizance of the processes that underlie the output of innovation. The third section would talk about the changing scenario of global redistribution of the S&T capacities, where, in comparison to the earlier dominance of the traditional triads of North America, Western Europe and Japan, countries like China, Australia, Brazil and India are emerging as significant attractors of brains i.e. of scholars and students. The fourth section would discuss the mutuality of benefits derived by both the sides through scholar mobility. The fifth section would analyse the example of development of the Indian IT industry and its linkages with the dynamics in North America through non-resident Indians and would shed light on how the highly skilled expatriate networks connect dispersed human resources in S&T with their countries of origin and generate a significant impact on innovation processes back home. The role of migration in restructuring innovation systems in origin and/or destination countries thus has debatable twists! But, because there are always two sides of the coin, it depends upon how one tosses it, to get to see the side one wants up – both sides vying for ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ outcome. In other words, the debate requires a balanced perspective for arriving at a win–win situation, which can be brought about through equitable adversary analysis.

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