Immigrants and Natives in the U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce, 1994-2006

Mariano Sana, Louisiana State University

Between 1994 and 2006 the foreign born-to-native S&E ratio (FSE/NSE) doubled. I decompose this change into a migration effect (which accounts for migration in general), a proportional college effect (which accounts for the relative proportions of college graduates among migrant and native workers) and a proportional S&E effect (which accounts for the relative proportions of S&Es among migrant and native college-educated workers.) Results show that the migration effect explains about three-quarters of the increase in FSE/NSE during 1994-2006. The proportional S&E effect was largest in 1995-1998, suggesting that the friendliest immigration policy toward scientists and engineers is a booming economy. Increases in the H-1B visa cap in 1999 and in 2001 were of little consequence: if the foreign born-to-native S&E ratio had been determined by the immigration of S&E alone, it would have actually decreased in 1998-2001, even as government took action to promote precisely this type of migration.

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Presented in Session 56: Migration and Education