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Hiring New Ideas: International Migration and Firm Innovation in New Zealand

Author

Listed:
  • Keith McLeod

    () (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment)

  • Richard Fabling

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • David C. Maré

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

Abstract

Poor productivity performance has been identified as a significant issue for New Zealand, and innovation is seen as a key mechanism for improving productivity growth. Understanding the drivers of firm innovation therefore represents an important step towards improving New Zealand’s economic performance. In this paper, we combine firm-level innovation data with worker characteristics to examine links between innovation and the presence of new arrivals – both immigrants and returning New Zealanders – in the firm’s workforce. Across a range of measures we find positive relationships between firm-level innovation and the share of new arrivals. These relationships weaken once we account for variation in firm characteristics (firm size, industry, R&D expenditure) and other worker characteristics (including the share of new and/or high skilled workers). Within new arrivals, innovation outcomes are most strongly associated with high skilled workers, though magnitudes vary depending on whether workers are returning New Zealanders or immigrants. Firms with a higher share of high skilled recent migrants were more likely to report introducing new marketing methods, new goods and services, or goods and services new to New Zealand. Firms with a higher share of high skilled returning New Zealanders were more likely to report introducing new organisational and managerial practices, and (as with migrants) goods and services new to New Zealand.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith McLeod & Richard Fabling & David C. Maré, 2014. "Hiring New Ideas: International Migration and Firm Innovation in New Zealand," Working Papers 14_14, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:14_14
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    File URL: http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/14_14.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:sls:ipmsls:v:34:y:2018:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gouranga Gopal Das & Sugata Marjit, 2018. "Skill, Innovation and Wage Inequality: Can Immigrants be the Trump Card?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7082, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. repec:bla:presci:v:96:y:2017:i::p:s29-s49 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; workforce composition; immigrants; returning New Zealanders;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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