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Finishing Degrees and Finding Jobs: US Higher Education and the Flow of Foreign IT Workers

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  • John Bound
  • Murat Demirci
  • Gaurav Khanna
  • Sarah Turner

Abstract

The rising importance of information technology (IT) occupations in the US economy has been accompanied by an expansion in the representation of high-skill, foreign-born IT workers. To illustrate, the share of the foreign born in IT occupations increased from about 15.5% to about 31.5% between 1993 and 2010, with this increased representation particularly marked among those younger than 45. This analysis focuses on understanding the role that US higher education and immigration policy plays in this transformation. A degree from a US college/university is an important pathway to participation in the US IT labor market, and the foreign born who obtain US degree credentials are particularly likely to remain in the United States. Many workers from abroad, including countries like India and China where wages in IT fields lag those in the United States, receive a substantial return to finding employment in the United States, even as temporary work visa policies may limit their entry. Limits on temporary work visas, which are particularly binding for those educated abroad, likely increase the attractiveness of degree attainment from US colleges and universities as a pathway to explore opportunities in the US labor market in IT.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bound & Murat Demirci & Gaurav Khanna & Sarah Turner, 2015. "Finishing Degrees and Finding Jobs: US Higher Education and the Flow of Foreign IT Workers," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 27-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ipolec:doi:10.1086/680059
    DOI: 10.1086/680059
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon H. Hanson & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2017. "High-Skilled Immigration and the Rise of STEM Occupations in US Employment," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future U.S. GDP Growth, pages 465-494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson & Chen Liu, 2017. "High-Skilled Immigration and the Comparative Advantage of Foreign-Born Workers across US Occupations," NBER Chapters, in: High-Skilled Migration to the United States and Its Economic Consequences, pages 7-40, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sergio Lo Iacono & Neli Demireva, 2018. "Returns to Foreign and Host Country Qualifications: Evidence from the US on the Labour Market Placement of Migrants and the Second Generation," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(3), pages 142-152.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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