FIGURE 1-18 US Census estimates of foreign-born in US S&E occupations by field, 2000.

SOURCE: Data for figure and table are from 2000 US Census 5 percent Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) and include all S&E occupations other than postsecondary teachers, because field of instruction was not included in occupation coding for the 2000 census.

A Positive Impact on Innovation

Skilled migrants may contribute at many levels, as technicians, teachers, and researchers and in other occupations in which technical training is desirable. But some research suggests that they generate economic gains by adding to the processes of industrial and business innovation. Such innovations tend to contribute to future productivity gains of both citizen and immigrant workers, which result in a net increase in real wages. One study provides evidence that the immigration of skilled workers adds to local skills rather than substituting for them.51 The authors’ econometric analyses suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of international gradu-


G. Chelleraj, K.E. Maskus, and A. Mattoo. 2004. The contribution of skilled immigration and international graduate students to U.S. innovation (Working Paper Number 04-10). Boulder, CO: University of Colorado. The authors concluded, “Our results strongly favor the view that foreign graduate students and immigrants under technical visas are significant inputs into developing new technologies in the American economy.” Also, immigration rules that permit immigration of the highly skilled, along with education subsidies, are sufficient to ensure new technology adoption, as shown by an exercise in theoretical modeling. P. Chander and S. Thangavelu. 2004. “Technology adoption, education and immigration policy,” Journal of Development Economics 75(1):79-94

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