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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1329559
 
 

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How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?


Jennifer Hunt


Rutgers University; McGill University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle


Princeton University - Department of Economics


IZA Discussion Paper No. 3921

Abstract:     
We measure the extent to which skilled immigrants increase innovation in the United States by exploring individual patenting behavior as well as state-level determinants of patenting. The 2003 National Survey of College Graduates shows that immigrants patent at double the native rate, and that this is entirely accounted for by their disproportionately holding degrees in science and engineering. These data imply that a one percentage point rise in the share of immigrant college graduates in the population increases patents per capita by 6%. This could be an overestimate of immigration's benefit if immigrant inventors crowd out native inventors, or an underestimate if immigrants have positive spill-overs on inventors. Using a 1940-2000 state panel, we show that immigrants do have positive spill-overs, resulting in an increase in patents per capita of 9-18% in response to a one percentage point increase in immigrant college graduates. We isolate the causal effect by instrumenting the change in the share of skilled immigrants in a state with the state's predicted increase in the share of skilled immigrants. We base the latter on the 1940 distribution across states of immigrants from various source regions and the subsequent national increase in skilled immigrants from these regions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: immigration, innovation

JEL Classification: J61, D24, O32

working papers series


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Date posted: January 19, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Hunt, Jennifer and Gauthier-Loiselle, Marjolaine, How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3921. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1329559

Contact Information

Jennifer Hunt (Contact Author)
Rutgers University ( email )
75 Hamilton Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States
McGill University - Department of Economics ( email )
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Leacock Building Room 443
Montreal, QC H3A 2T7
Canada
514-398-6866 (Phone)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle
Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
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