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Mobilizing intellectual capital of diasporas: from first movers to a virtuous cycle

Yevgeny Kuznetsov (Knowledge for Development Program, World Bank Institute, Washington, DC, USA)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




This conceptual paper seeks to develop hypotheses to explain a process of involvement of highly skilled members of diaspora to improve badly functioning institutions at home.


To arrive at the hypotheses, the paper relies on four diaspora pilots (in Armenia, Chile, Mexico and Argentina) that were designed and launched with the participation of the author.


A three‐stage process of diaspora involvement is identified: starting from first movers (individuals with longer planning horizon and higher tolerance to risk), to informal search networks, and to institutionalized search networks. Examples of this sequence are given from Taiwan, Chile and Mexico.

Research limitations/implications

The hypotheses of the paper need qualifications which can be done with time, as more evidence and diversity in outcomes become available. The hypotheses are not rigorous, in a sense that no counterfactual information has been identified to prove them.


The paper examines dynamics of diaspora knowledge networks from “outside”, from a perspective of economic development, rather than migration of skills or network dynamics.



Kuznetsov, Y. (2008), "Mobilizing intellectual capital of diasporas: from first movers to a virtuous cycle", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 264-282.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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