In Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born PhDs in the United States, Grogger and Hanson use data from the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates to analyze location choices for foreign-born science and engineering students receiving a Ph.D. from U.S. universities. Grogger and Hanson find that several variables are associated with a higher likelihood of staying in the United States, including: having received a B.A. from a U.S. institution; having a father who has a B.A.; and, receiving the majority of their funding for their doctoral education from university research assistantships, teaching assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships. The authors also find that, when per capita GDP growth in the birth country is higher, foreign students are less likely to stay, whereas when per capita GDP growth in the United States is higher than their native country, foreign students are more likely to stay. Foreign students coming from more developed, more democratic countries are also less likely to stay in the United States.
Seeking an answer to the question, Does Immigration Affect Whether US Natives Major in Science and Engineering?, Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny examine the relationship between whether U.S.-born college graduates majored in an S&E field and the foreign-born share of their age cohort while in high school and in college. Overall, the authors find some evidence that immigration adversely affects whether U.S.-born women who graduated from college majored in a science or engineering field. Instead, the authors’ results indicate that women were more likely to major in education and in psychology as the immigrant share of their college cohort increased. Although Orrenius and Zavodny view their findings as striking given that women are already less than half as likely as men to major in S&E, they still caution against drawing policy conclusions.
In Recruitment of Foreigners in the Market for Computer Scientists in the United States,Bound, Braga, Golden, and Khanna study the impact of high-skill immigration on the labor market for computer scientists in the United States during the Internet boom of the 1990s, as well as the subsequent slump that occurred in the early 2000s. In their dynamic model, where firms can recruit computer scientists from recently graduated college students, a pool of foreign talent, or from STEM workers in other occupations, the authors find that although wages and total employment for American computer scientists would have been higher in 2004 if firms could not hire more foreigners than they could in 1994, total computer science employment and output would have been lower.
In their analysis of STEM employment, Peri, Shih, and Sparber find that there is a large, positive, and significant effect of foreign STEM workers on wages paid to college-educated natives, as well as a positive and usually significant effect on wages paid to non-college educated natives. In STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities, the authors suggest that this implies that STEM workers generate a productivity effect that is skill biased. Furthermore, the authors find that the inflow of STEM workers did not significantly affect the employment of any native group.
Together, these papers provide important early contributions to the literature on evaluating high-tech immigration. While research on immigration and high-skilled labor markets has previously existed in distinct fields, this volume of the Journal of Labor Economicssuggests an increased push toward the convergence of this research.
Read the special volume of the Journal of Labor Economics here:http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/679275