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Do Native STEM Graduates Increase Innovation? Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas

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  • John V. Winters

    () (Oklahoma State University)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of college graduates educated in STEM fields on patenting intensity in U.S. metropolitan areas. Some prior research suggests a positive effect on urban innovation from foreign-born STEM workers, but little is known about the effects of native STEM graduates on innovation. My preferred results use time-differenced 2SLS regressions, and I introduce a novel approach to instrumenting for the growth in native STEM graduates. I find positive effects of foreign STEM on innovation, roughly consistent with previous literature. However, my preferred approach yields a negative coefficient estimate for native STEM graduates on innovation that is not statistically significant but suggests that a meaningfully large positive effect is unlikely during the 2009-2015 time-period. I discuss possible explanations and implications.

Suggested Citation

  • John V. Winters, 2017. "Do Native STEM Graduates Increase Innovation? Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Economics Working Paper Series 1714, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:okl:wpaper:1714
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    File URL: https://business.okstate.edu/site-files/docs/ecls-working-papers/OKSWPS1714.pdf
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    Keywords

    STEM; innovation; patents; human capital; higher education;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • 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
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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