Immigration, Innovation, and Growth

67 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

See all articles by Konrad Burchardi

Konrad Burchardi

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); Stockholm University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Thomas Chaney

SciencesPo - Sciences Po - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Tarek A. Hassan

Boston University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Lisa Tarquinio

Boston University

Stephen Terry

Boston University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 21, 2020

Abstract

We show a causal impact of immigration on innovation and dynamism in US counties. To identify the causal impact of immigration, we use 130 years of detailed data on migrations from foreign countries to US counties to isolate quasi-random variation in the ancestry composition of US counties that results purely from the interaction of two historical forces: (i) changes over time in the relative attractiveness of different destinations within the US to the average migrant arriving at the time and (ii) the staggered timing of the arrival of migrants from different origin countries. We then use this plausibly exogenous variation in ancestry composition to predict the total number of migrants flowing into each US county in recent decades. We show four main results. First, immigration has a positive impact on innovation, measured by the patenting of local firms. Second, immigration has a positive impact on measures of local economic dynamism. Third, the positive impact of immigration on innovation percolates over space, but spatial spillovers quickly die out with distance. Fourth, the impact of immigration on innovation is stronger for more educated migrants.

Keywords: migrations, innovation, patents, endogenous growth, dynamism.

JEL Classification: J61, O31,O40

Suggested Citation

Burchardi, Konrad and Chaney, Thomas and Hassan, Tarek Alexander and Tarquninio, Lisa and Terry, Stephen, Immigration, Innovation, and Growth (April 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3582182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3582182

Konrad Burchardi

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

Stockholm University

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Thomas Chaney

SciencesPo - Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, Paris 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Tarek Alexander Hassan (Contact Author)

Boston University ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Lisa Tarquninio

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Stephen Terry

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
91
Abstract Views
498
rank
330,720
PlumX Metrics