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Does Scientist Immigration Harm US Science? An Examination of Spillovers

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Listed:
  • Ajay Agrawal
  • John McHale
  • Alex Oettl

Abstract

The recruitment of foreign scientists enhances US science through an expanded workforce but could also cause harm by displacing better connected domestic scientists, thereby reducing localized knowledge spillovers. We develop a model in which a sufficient condition for the absence of overall harm is that immigrant scientists generate at least the same level of localized spillovers as the domestic scientists they displace. To test this condition, we conduct an experiment in which each immigrant hypothetically displaces an appropriately matched domestic scientist. Overall, we do not find evidence that immigrant scientists harm US science by crowding out better-connected domestic scientists.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajay Agrawal & John McHale & Alex Oettl, 2018. "Does Scientist Immigration Harm US Science? An Examination of Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 24519, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24519
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Britta Glennon, 2020. "How Do Restrictions on High-Skilled Immigration Affect Offshoring? Evidence from the H-1B Program," NBER Working Papers 27538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Yingkai Tang & Yaozhi Chen & Kun Wang & He Xu & Xiaoqi Yi, 2020. "An Analysis on the Spatial Effect of Absorptive Capacity on Regional Innovation Ability Based on Empirical Research in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(7), pages 1-23, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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