The power of moving brains

Harvard Study emphasizes on economic importance of business travel

Moving brains across the globe

A study by Harvard University’s Center for International Development recently confirmed the impact of business trips on knowledge transfer and positive economic development.

Advancing digitalization makes it possible to connect people at different ends of the world in the shortest possible time – whether via Skype, Zoom or one of the many other virtual tools currently available. The corona pandemic made it imperative to rely primarily on these means for a certain period, as international travel has been restricted to contain the spread of the virus. But what would happen if business travel stopped?

Through mapping the flow of global business travel and researching growth rates, one of the author's key findings is that business travel moves knowhow from one country to another and thus impacts the productivity of the industries receiving that knowhow: “Countries grow new industries and expand existing ones if they often have previously been visited by business travelers from other countries that specialize in those industries.” The research thus highlights the importance of face-to-face business travel for the global diffusion of knowhow and resulting economic development.