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STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities

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  • Giovanni Peri
  • Kevin Shih
  • Chad Sparber

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers are fundamental inputs for innovation, the main driver of productivity growth. We identify the long-run effect of STEM employment growth on outcomes for native workers across 219 US cities from 1990 to 2010. We use the 1980 distribution of foreign-born STEM workers and variation in the H-1B visa program to identify supply-driven STEM increases across cities. Increases in STEM workers are associated with significant wage gains for college-educated natives. Gains for non-college-educated natives are smaller but still significant. Our results imply that foreign STEM increased total factor productivity growth in US cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2015. "STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 225-255.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/679061
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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