The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms & US Ethnic Invention

38 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2010

See all articles by William Kerr

William Kerr

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

William Fabius Lincoln

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

Date Written: February 9, 2010

Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of high-skilled immigrants on US technology formation. We use reduced-form specifications that exploit large changes in the H-1B visa program. Higher H-1B admissions increase immigrant science and engineering (SE) employment and patenting by inventors with Indian and Chinese names in cities and firms dependent upon the program relative to their peers. Most specifications find limited effects for native SE employment or patenting. We are able to rule out displacement effects, and small crowding-in effects may exist. Total SE employment and invention increases with higher admissions primarily through direct contributions of immigrants.

Keywords: Innovation, Research and Development, Patents, Scientists, Engineers, Inventors, H-1B, Immigration, Ethnicity, India, China, Endogenous Growth

JEL Classification: F15, F22, J44, J61, O31

Suggested Citation

Kerr, William R. and Lincoln, William Fabius, The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms & US Ethnic Invention (February 9, 2010). William Davidson Institute Working Paper No. 978. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1567647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1567647

William R. Kerr (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

William Fabius Lincoln

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

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