Knowledge Spillovers, Competition, and Individual Careers

Research on Monday Seminar
Two people sitting on a wall in Rotterdam

Thomas Cornelissen

Monday 20 Mar 2023, 11:30 - 12:30
Van der Goot Building
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Two people sitting on a wall in Rotterdam

Exposure to better peers at work may improve career prospects because of knowledge spillovers, but it can also harm career prospects if workers compete for career opportunities.

With Christian Dustmann and Uta Schönberg

German labor market

Our identification strategy, based on a unique feature of the German labor market, allows us to disentangle these two effects. Focusing on young untrained workers and their exposure to high-quality colleagues in their first year in the labor market, we find strong evidence for persistent knowledge spillover effects, specifically so in occupations with high skill content and task complexity.

We detect counteracting competition effects of similar magnitude such that the overall impact of exposure to better colleagues on worker careers is close to zero.


To participate or to meet the speaker for a bilateral, lunch or dinner, please register online.

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