Skilled immigrants' contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States

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This chapter describes the link between skilled immigration to the United States and innovation and entrepreneurship. Skilled immigrants to the United States, defined as those with a college degree, outperform college‐educated natives in terms of wages, patenting, commercialising or licensing patents, and publishing. This success is due to immigrants who originally entered the United States on a student/trainee visa or a temporary work visa and is explained by their different fields of study and higher level of education. Skilled immigrants are also more likely to start successful companies than their native counterparts, apparently owing to higher unmeasured entrepreneurial ability. The effect of skilled immigration on per‐capita patenting results to be larger than implied by immigrants' individual success, as immigrants have positive spill‐overs on natives.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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