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Immigration in High-Skill Labor Markets: The Impact of Foreign Students on the Earnings of Doctorates

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  • George J. Borjas

Abstract

The rapid growth in the number of foreign students enrolled in American universities has transformed the higher education system, particularly at the graduate level. Many of these newly minted doctorates remain in the United States after receiving their doctoral degrees, so that the foreign student influx can have a significant impact in the labor market for high-skill workers. Using data drawn from the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Survey of Doctoral Recipients, the study shows that a foreign student influx into a particular doctoral field at a particular time had a significant and adverse effect on the earnings of doctorates in that field who graduated at roughly the same time. A 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 to 4 percent. About half of this adverse wage effect can be attributed to the increased prevalence of low-pay postdoctoral appointments in fields that have softer labor market conditions because of large-scale immigration.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas, 2006. "Immigration in High-Skill Labor Markets: The Impact of Foreign Students on the Earnings of Doctorates," NBER Working Papers 12085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12085
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    Cited by:

    1. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    2. Richard Freeman, 2010. "Globalization of scientific and engineering talent: international mobility of students, workers, and ideas and the world economy," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 393-406.
    3. 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.
    4. Takao Kato & Chad Sparber, 2013. "Quotas and Quality: The Effect of H-1B Visa Restrictions on the Pool of Prospective Undergraduate Students from Abroad," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 109-126, March.
    5. Azarnert, Leonid V., 2010. "Is skilled immigration always good for growth in the receiving economy?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 116-118, August.
    6. repec:anr:reveco:v:9:y:2017:p:201-234 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 417-457.
    8. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2008. "Migration, the Quality of the Labour Force and Economic Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 6899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2017. "High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 201-234, September.
    10. William R. Kerr, 2013. "U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 19377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "Migration in an Enlarged EU: A Challenging Solution?," IZA Discussion Papers 3913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    13. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln & Prachi Mishra, 2014. "The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 343-379, November.
    14. Kahanec, Martin, 2012. "Skilled Labor Flows: Lessons from the European Union," IZA Research Reports 49, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    17. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2011. "Highly Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 385-411, July.
    18. Donald R. Davis, 2006. "Panel 3: Challenges for Europe´s political institutions and society," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(3), pages 36-41, October.
    19. Richard B. Freeman, 2015. "Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 153-175.
    20. Richard B. Freeman, 2010. "What Does Global Expansion of Higher Education Mean for the United States?," NBER Chapters,in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 373-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2012. "Immigration and the Distribution of Incomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6921, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Gnanaraj Chellaraj & Keith E. Maskus & Aaditya Mattoo, 2008. "The Contribution of International Graduate Students to US Innovation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 444-462, August.
    23. Sabharwal, Meghna, 2011. "Job satisfaction patterns of scientists and engineers by status of birth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 853-863, July.
    24. Cortés, Patricia & Pan, Jessica, 2014. "Foreign nurse importation and the supply of native nurses," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 164-180.
    25. Pokrovsky, D. & Shapoval, A., 2015. "Distribution of Entrepreneurial Skills and Migration: Employment Structure, Income Inequality, and Welfare," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 36-62.

    More about this item

    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

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