With the transformation of China’s economy from rapid growth to high-quality development, green innovation has become an important driving force for achieving sustainable development. However, green innovation not only brings the dual benefits of knowledge spillover and environmental protection, but also creates challenges for achieving green innovation. Therefore, how to stimulate the motivation of green innovation from the inside of enterprises, is a topic to be studied.
As the key decision-maker of enterprise strategies, the human capital level of the management undoubtedly has a profound impact on enterprise innovation. Overseas experience always represents a good educational background and practical skills, which will certainly change the executive’s cognition and affect the behavior and practice of his/her enterprise. Some existing studies have explored the impact of executives’ overseas experience on enterprise innovation. However, the analysis of this phenomenon is still insufficient. Moreover, the “dual externalities” of green innovation make it inevitable to have a unique influence mechanism waiting to be explored compared with general technological innovation.
This paper takes China’s A-share listed companies from 2008 to 2020 as the research sample, and tests the influence of executives’ overseas experience on enterprise green innovation. The study finds that the overseas experience of executives can promote enterprise green innovation by enhancing the risk preference and confidence of executives, and strengthening environmental attention. Further analysis shows that: The effect of executives’ overseas experience on promoting green innovation is more obvious in state-owned enterprises; institutional investor shareholding strengthens the positive impact of executives’ overseas experience on green innovation; the redundant resources of enterprises inhibit the impact of executives’ overseas experience on green innovation. The above results are still valid after the tendency score matching control endogeneity and a series of robustness tests.
The findings in this paper reveal that: Overseas experience can help to shape executives’ management style of taking risks bravely and attaching importance to long-term management, and lead enterprises to invest more resources in green innovation activities. This paper enlightens enterprises and governments to further improve the talent training and selection mechanism, pay attention to the exploration of returnee human capital, and provide talent protection for green innovation. They should also provide more green innovation resources for private enterprises, and ensure the “quality” and “efficiency” of green innovation, so as to help the sustainable development of the national economy.