Immigration, Innovation, and Growth

68 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Konrad Burchardi

Konrad Burchardi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Thomas Chaney

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

Tarek Alexander Hassan

Boston University

Lisa Tarquinio

Boston University

Stephen Terry

Boston University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 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.

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Suggested Citation

Burchardi, Konrad and Chaney, Thomas and Hassan, Tarek Alexander and Tarquninio, Lisa and Terry, Stephen, Immigration, Innovation, and Growth (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27075, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3592153

Konrad Burchardi (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Lisa Tarquninio

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Stephen Terry

Boston University ( email )

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