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Processing Immigration Shocks: Firm Responses on the Innovation Margin

Author

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  • Rowena Gray
  • Giulia Montresor
  • Greg C. Wright

Abstract

The extent to which firms respond to labor supply shocks has important implications for local and national economies. We exploit firm-level panel data on product and process innovation activities in the United Kingdom and find that the large, low-skill labor supply (immigration) shock generated by the 2004 expansion of the European Union to Eastern European countries increased process innovation and reduced product innovation. This implies that the innovation response to labor supply shocks may be more nuanced than previous literature has suggested. Both of these effects are increasing in the low-skill intensity of firm production as well as firm size. In addition, the reduction in product innovation is lessened for firms whose output is sold locally. We interpret this last finding as evidence in favor of a demand side effect that mitigates the overall decline in product innovation generated by the labor supply shock. We present a model that illustrates the channels through which firms may respond to labor supply shocks, and find that our results are mostly consistent with the model’s predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rowena Gray & Giulia Montresor & Greg C. Wright, 2017. "Processing Immigration Shocks: Firm Responses on the Innovation Margin," CESifo Working Paper Series 6624, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6624
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6624.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    product innovation; process innovation; immigration; labor supply shocks;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • 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
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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