IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Are Foreign IT Workers Cheaper? U.S. Visa Policies and Compensation of Information Technology Professionals

Listed author(s):
  • Sunil Mithas

    ()

    (Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742)

  • Henry C. Lucas, Jr.

    ()

    (Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742)

Registered author(s):

    The use of H-1B and other work visas to hire foreign information technology (IT) professionals in the United States has attracted significant controversy and policy debates. On one hand, hiring high-skill foreign IT professionals on work visas can be advantageous for U.S. firms and the overall economy. On the other hand, high-skill immigration can adversely impact the wages of foreign and American IT professionals. This study uses data on skills and compensation of more than 50,000 IT professionals in the United States over the period 2000-2005 to study patterns in compensation of foreign and American IT professionals to inform these debates. Contrary to the popular belief that foreign workers are a cheap source of labor for U.S. firms, we find that after controlling for their human capital attributes, foreign IT professionals (those without U.S. citizenship and those with H-1B or other work visas) earn a salary premium when compared with IT professionals with U.S. citizenship. The salary premiums for non-U.S. citizens and for those on work visas fluctuate in response to supply shocks created by the annual caps on new H-1B visas. Setting lower and fully utilized annual caps results in higher salary premiums for non-U.S. citizens and those with work visas. We discuss implications of this study for crafting informed visa- and immigration-related policies by the U.S. government, for staffing practices of firms, and for human capital investments by IT professionals.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1149
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 745-765

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:5:p:745-765
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page: http://www.informs.org/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "People Flows in Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 145-170, Spring.
    2. Arie Y Lewin & Silvia Massini & Carine Peeters, 2009. "Why are companies offshoring innovation? The emerging global race for talent," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 40(8), pages 1406-1406, October.
    3. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2007. "Does immigration affect wages? A look at occupation-level evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 757-773, October.
    4. Butcher, Kristin F & Card, David, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence from the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 292-296, May.
    5. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 31-56, April.
    6. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    7. Chellaraj, Gnanaraj & Maskus, Keith E. & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2005. "The contribution of skilled immigration and international graduate students to U.S. innovation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3588, The World Bank.
    8. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089.
    9. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
    10. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Mass Migration on the Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408.
    11. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Impact of the 1962 Repatriates from Algeria on the French Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 556-572, April.
    12. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-251, April.
    13. Uday M. Apte & Richard O. Mason, 1995. "Global Disaggregation of Information-Intensive Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(7), pages 1250-1262, July.
    14. Arie Lewin & Silvia Massini & Carine Peeters, 2008. "Why are companies offshoring innovation ?the emerging global race for talent," Working Papers CEB 08-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. Sunil Mithas & M. S. Krishnan, 2008. "Human Capital and Institutional Effects in the Compensation of Information Technology Professionals in the United States," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(3), pages 415-428, March.
    16. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    17. Soon Ang & Sandra Slaughter & Kok Yee Ng, 2002. "Human Capital and Institutional Determinants of Information Technology Compensation: Modeling Multilevel and Cross-Level Interactions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(11), pages 1427-1445, November.
    18. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, July.
    19. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    20. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    21. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Mark C. Regets & Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1999. "Immigrants and Human-Capital Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 186-191, May.
    23. Alexander Oettl & Ajay Agrawal, 2008. "International labor mobility and knowledge flow externalities," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(8), pages 1242-1260, December.
    24. Kristin Butcher & David Card, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence From the 1980's," Working Papers 661, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    25. Anandhi S. Bharadwaj & Sundar G. Bharadwaj & Benn R. Konsynski, 1999. "Information Technology Effects on Firm Performance as Measured by Tobin's q," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 1008-1024, July.
    26. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    27. Donald E. Harter & Sandra A. Slaughter, 2003. "Quality Improvement and Infrastructure Activity Costs in Software Development: A Longitudinal Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(6), pages 784-800, June.
    28. George J. Borjas, 2005. "The Labor-Market Impact of High-Skill Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 56-60, May.
    29. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:5:p:745-765. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.