Monday, October 06, 2008

SSTI: How are Immigrant Workers Changing the Face of U.S. Innovation?

From SSTI:

Recent Research: How are Immigrant and Ethnic Workers Changing the Face of U.S. Innovation?
Foreign-born and ethnic workers continue to rapidly grow in their importance to the U.S. innovation economy, according to two recent studies that address this issue by examining the links between these groups and patenting activity.

In How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?, Jennifer Hunt uses state panel data from 1950 to 2000 to measure the extent of immigration's impact on U.S. patenting, state innovation economies and the science and technology workforce. Foreign-born residents account for just over ten percent of the working population, but represent about 25 percent of the science and engineering workforce. The 2003 Survey of College Graduates found that immigrants patent at double the rate of native U.S. residents. That study found that the difference was attributable to disproportionate educational attainment in science and engineering.

Hunt finds that a 1.3 percent increase in the share of the population composed of immigrant college graduates can increase patenting per capita by between 10 and 26 percent. Post-college immigrants had an even larger positive impact. In addition, immigrant college graduates can have positive spillovers for the non-immigrant population. While there may be some short-term crowding out of the native population as immigrants arrive, in the long-term, there is evidence that post-college immigrants can increase the patenting activity of their native neighbors.

Overall, Hunt argues that an immigrant college graduate contributes at least twice as much to patenting as a native counterpart.

Purchase How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation? from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) at:

1 comment:

Ntino Krampis said...

I think drilling into more detail to the data for this study in the period of 2001-2005, would show a great drop in the amount of immigrant workers coming to the US (this due to the screwed-up post 9/11 immigration laws). I remember that period reading on how Europe got benefited from the wave of immigrant workers moving there instead of the US... things started changing though after 2006 or so, when companies started screaming at the government that they need foreign work force, especially in the scientific areas....