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U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence

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  • William R. Kerr

    (University, NBER, and Bank of Finland.)

Abstract

High-skilled immigrants are a very important component of U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship. Immigrants account for roughly a quarter of U.S. workers in these fields, and they have a similar contribution in terms of output measures like patents or firm starts. This contribution has been rapidly growing over the last three decades. In terms of quality, the average skilled immigrant appears to be better trained to work in these fields, but conditional on educational attainment of comparable quality to natives. The exception to this is that immigrants have a disproportionate impact among the very highest achievers (e.g., Nobel Prize winners). Studies regarding the impact of immigrants on natives tend to find limited consequences in the short-run, while the results in the long-run are more varied and much less certain. Immigrants in the United States aid business and technology exchanges with their home countries, but the overall effect that the migration has on the home country remains unclear. We know very little about return migration of workers engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship, except that it is rapidly growing in importance.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. Kerr, 2014. "U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 16, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:wip:wpaper:16
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    Cited by:

    1. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Nathan, Max & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2016. "Do inventors talk to strangers? On proximity and collaborative knowledge creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 177-194.
    2. 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.
    3. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2017. "High-Skilled Immigration, STEM Employment, and Nonroutine-Biased Technical Change," NBER Chapters,in: High-Skilled Migration to the United States and its Economic Consequences, pages 177-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 115-152.
    5. Kemeny, Thomas, 2013. "Immigrant diversity and economic development in cities: a critical review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58458, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. 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.
    7. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2016. "Immigrant Entrepreneurship," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses: Current Knowledge and Challenges, pages 187-249 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Cai, Zhengyu & Winters, John V., 2017. "Self-employment differentials among foreign-born STEM and non-STEM workers," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 371-384.
    14. Lewis, Ethan & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "Immigration and the Economy of Cities and Regions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    15. repec:taf:regstd:v:51:y:2017:i:1:p:128-143 is not listed on IDEAS
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    24. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9848-8 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration; innovation; entrepreneurship; diaspora;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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