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Are Immigrants the Best and Brightest U.S. Engineers?

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  • Jennifer Hunt

Abstract

Using the American Community Surveys of 2009 and 2010, I examine the wages of immigrants compared to natives among engineering workers. Among workers in engineering occupations, immigrants are the best and brightest thanks to their high education level, enjoying a wage distribution shifted to the right of the native distribution. Among workers with an engineering degree, however, immigrants underperform natives, despite somewhat higher education. The gap is particularly large in the lower tail, where immigrants work in occupations not commensurate with their education. In the upper tail, immigrants fail to be promoted out of technical occupations to management, handicapped by imperfect English and their underrepresentation among older age groups. In both samples, immigrants from the highest income countries are the best and brightest workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Hunt, 2013. "Are Immigrants the Best and Brightest U.S. Engineers?," NBER Working Papers 18696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18696
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    Cited by:

    1. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Jürgen Janger & Matthias Firgo & Kathrin Hofmann & Agnes Kügler & Anna Strauss & Gerhard Streicher & Hans Pechar, 2017. "Wirtschaftliche und gesellschaftliche Effekte von Universitäten," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 60794, January.
    3. Dr Max Nathan, 2013. "The wider economic impacts of high-skilled migrants: a survey of the literature," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 413, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    4. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni & Gianluca Tarasconi, 2014. "Inventor Data for Research on Migration and Innovation: A Survey and a Pilot," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 17, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    5. Breschi, Stefano & Lawson, Cornelia & Lissoni, Francesco & Morrison, Andrea & Salter, Ammon, 2020. "STEM migration, research, and innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(9).
    6. Coccia, Mario, 2014. "Driving forces of technological change: The relation between population growth and technological innovation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 52-65.
    7. Richard B. Freeman & Hal Salzman, 2018. "Introduction for "U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy"," NBER Chapters, in: US Engineering in a Global Economy, pages 1-9, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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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

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