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Migration, Mobility and Growth, William Kerr

Presentation by William Kerr, "Migration, Mobility and Growth"

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Migration, Mobility and Growth, William Kerr

  1. 1. Migration, Mobility and Growth
  2. 2. Opening thoughts •Complex landscape! –Immigration, equality of opportunity, innovation, productivity, economic growth, social mobility –(… and that was just the themes listed!) •Break down into parts –Case study of US high-skilled immigration –General themes from the migration literature –Broad and speculative
  3. 3. Basic facts •The US is a land of immigrants… –16% of (legal) workforce in 2008 –29% of growth since 1995 •…especially in science and engineering (SE) –25% with bachelors educations –~50% with doctorates –2/3rds of the growth since 1995 –Quantity, quality, or both?
  4. 4. The longer-run trend
  5. 5. How to assess impact? •The labor market? –Local areas –Occupations –Student majors •Role of firms? –Life of H-1B –Popular arguments –Goal of the process!
  6. 6. Some consequences •Structure of programs can change substantially and rapidly •Immigrants are not uniform across firms, and separated employment outcomes •Substantial efforts to influence policy, but in some non-obvious ways
  7. 7. H-1B program’s composition •1995: India ~20%, Computer 25% •1998: India ~45%, Computer 57% •2002: India 28%, Computer 28% •2008: India 57%, Computer 53% •2012: India 64%, Computer 70+%
  8. 8. Lobbying efforts Firms not Firms lobbying lobbying on any issue on 1+ issue 2001-2003 2001-2003 (1) (2) Panel A. Share lobbying for high skilled immigration issues 2001-2003 Least Dependent 0.00 0.00 2nd Quintile 0.00 0.00 3rd Quintile 0.00 0.05 4th Quintile 0.00 0.04 Most Dependent 0.00 0.28 Panel A. Share lobbying for high skilled immigration issues 2004-2006 Least Dependent 0.00 0.06 2nd Quintile 0.00 0.10 3rd Quintile 0.00 0.14 4th Quintile 0.08 0.22 Most Dependent 0.00 0.48 Taken from Kerr, Lincoln, Mishra
  9. 9. Lobbying efforts Firms not Firms lobbying lobbying on any issue on 1+ issue 2001-2003 2001-2003 (1) (2) Panel A. Share lobbying for high skilled immigration issues 2001-2003 Least Dependent 0.00 0.00 2nd Quintile 0.00 0.00 3rd Quintile 0.00 0.05 4th Quintile 0.00 0.04 Most Dependent 0.00 0.28 Panel A. Share lobbying for high skilled immigration issues 2004-2006 Least Dependent 0.00 0.06 2nd Quintile 0.00 0.10 3rd Quintile 0.00 0.14 4th Quintile 0.08 0.22 Most Dependent 0.00 0.48 Taken from Kerr, Lincoln, Mishra
  10. 10. Some firm-level findings •Range of pay differential studies •Growth of firm employment overall –Especially strong among younger workers –Flat for older native workers •Growth of firm innovation/patenting •Global connections to home countries
  11. 11. Pulling out some themes •The structure of programs matters greatly –General models vs. detailed motivations –Consequences for inequality, at least in short-term –Substitutes and complements •The allocation of talent is central –How many people exposed to creative work? Who? –To what degree are their efforts directed? –Does diversity provide benefits beyond talent?
  12. 12. How does this connect locally? •Heterogeneous impact on cities –Agglomeration and ethnic enclaves –“Greasing the wheels” of economic geography –National policies with localized effects •Generalizes to other channels –Immigrants & housing markets –Immigrants & education investments –Immigrants & public policies (e.g., emp. protection)
  13. 13. How does this connect globally? •Place matters (… broader than US) •Evidence of diaspora & economic benefits –Knowledge flows, FDI, outsourcing, etc. –One side of the equation and very heterogeneous –Boost convergence for some, traps for others? •Role of return migration being studied
  14. 14. Broad and speculative •Trillion-dollar bills on the sidewalk? –Static vs. dynamic, incentives for investment –Effectiveness of redistribution? •Inequality, innovation and growth –Worry about inequality closing borders –… and also lowering rates of internal mobility –… want to extend gains derived from advances in talent allocation rather than reverse them

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