Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born Phds in the Us

44 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013 Last revised: 26 Feb 2013

See all articles by Jeffrey Grogger

Jeffrey Grogger

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2013

Abstract

We use data from the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates to examine the post-degree location choices of foreign-born students receiving PhDs from US universities in science and engineering. Over the period 1960 to 2008, 77% of foreign-born S&E PhDs state that they plan to stay in the United States. The foreign students more likely to stay in the US are those with stronger academic ability, measured in terms of parental educational attainment and the student's success in obtaining graduate fellowships. Foreign students staying in the United States thus appear to be positively selected in terms of academic ability. We also find that foreign students are more likely to stay in the United States if in recent years the US economy has had strong GDP growth or the birth country of the foreign student has had weak GDP growth. Foreign students are less likely to remain in the US if they are from countries with higher average income levels or that have recently democratized. Education and innovation may therefore be part of a virtuous cycle in which education enhances prospects for innovation in low-income countries and innovation makes residing in these countries more attractive for scientists and engineers.

Suggested Citation

Grogger, Jeffrey T. and Hanson, Gordon H., Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born Phds in the Us (February 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w18780. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2214249

Jeffrey T. Grogger (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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