Substitution between Groups of Highly-Educated, Foreign-Born, H-1b Workers

44 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Chad Sparber

Chad Sparber

Colgate University - Economics Department


Highly-educated foreign-born workers can secure legal US employment through the H-1B program. The annual cap on H-1B issuances varies across individuals' US educational experience, H-1B work history, and employer type. Caps are met quickly in most but not all years. This paper exploits these differences to identify whether firms substitute across different sources of highly-educated, foreign-born, H-1B labor. New H-1B workers without advanced degrees from US universities substitute with new H-1B workers possessing advanced US degrees. We find no evidence for substitution with established H-1B workers.

Keywords: skilled workers, H-1B status, immigrant

JEL Classification: J61, F22

Suggested Citation

Sparber, Chad, Substitution between Groups of Highly-Educated, Foreign-Born, H-1b Workers. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12028, Available at SSRN:

Chad Sparber (Contact Author)

Colgate University - Economics Department ( email )

13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346
United States

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