Labor flows are important channels for knowledge spillovers between firms; yet competing arguments provide different explanations for this mechanism. Firstly, productivity differences between the source and recipient firms have been found to drive these spillovers; secondly, previous evidence suggests that labor flows from multinational enterprises provide productivity gains for firms; and thirdly, industry relatedness across firms have been found important, because industry-specific skills have an impact on organizational learning and production. In this paper, we aim to disentangle the effects of productivity gap, multinational experience and industry relatedness in a common framework. Hungarian employee–employer linked panel data from 2003–2011 imply that the incoming labor from more productive firms is associated with increasing future productivity. The impact of multinational spillovers cannot be confirmed, once productivity differences between the firms are taken into account. Furthermore, we find that flows from related industries outperform the effect of flows from same and unrelated industries even if we control for the effects of productivity gap and multinational spillovers.
Industry relatedness Firm productivity Knowledge spillovers Labor mobility Productivity gap Multinational enterprises Industry space