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How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?

  • Jennifer Hunt
  • Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle

We measure the extent to which skilled immigrants increase innovation in the United States. The 2003 National Survey of College Graduates shows that immigrants patent at double the native rate, due to their disproportionately holding science and engineering degrees. Using a 1940-2000 state panel, we show that a 1 percentage point increase in immigrant college graduates' population share increases patents per capita by 9-18 percent. Our instrument for the change in the skilled immigrant share is based on the 1940 distribution across states of immigrants from various source regions and the subsequent national increase in skilled immigration from these regions. (JEL J24, J61, O31, O33)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 31-56

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:31-56
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.2.31
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