Purchase - $5.00

How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?

51 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2009  

Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Jennifer Hunt

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2009

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.

Keywords: Immigration, Innovation

JEL Classification: D24, J61, O32

Suggested Citation

Gauthier-Loiselle, Marjolaine and Hunt, Jennifer, How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation? (January 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7116. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1345642

Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
6
Abstract Views
991