Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the U.S. High-Tech Sector

35 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2019 Last revised: 4 Mar 2019

See all articles by J. David Brown

J. David Brown

US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

John S. Earle

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mee Jung Kim

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government, Students

Kyung Min Lee

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

We estimate differences in innovation behavior between foreign versus U.S.-born entrepreneurs in high-tech industries. Our data come from the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, a random sample of firms with detailed information on owner characteristics and innovation activities. We find uniformly higher rates of innovation in immigrant-owned firms for 15 of 16 different innovation measures; the only exception is for copyright/trademark. The immigrant advantage holds for older firms as well as for recent start-ups and for every level of the entrepreneur’s education. The size of the estimated immigrant-native differences in product and process innovation activities rises with detailed controls for demographic and human capital characteristics but falls for R&D and patenting. Controlling for finance, motivations, and industry reduces all coefficients, but for most measures and specifications immigrants are estimated to have a sizable advantage in innovation.

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Suggested Citation

Brown, J. David and Earle, John S. and Kim, Mee Jung and Lee, Kyung Min, Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the U.S. High-Tech Sector (February 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25565. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3336517

J. David Brown (Contact Author)

US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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John S. Earle

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://earle.gmu.edu

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Mee Jung Kim

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government, Students ( email )

Founders Hall, Fifth Floor
3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Kyung Min Lee

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government ( email )

Founders Hall, Fifth Floor
3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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