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STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities

Giovanni Peri (), Kevin Shih () and Chad Sparber ()

Journal of Labor Economics, 2015, vol. 33, issue S1, S225 - S255

Abstract: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers are fundamental inputs for innovation, the main driver of productivity growth. We identify the long-run effect of STEM employment growth on outcomes for native workers across 219 US cities from 1990 to 2010. We use the 1980 distribution of foreign-born STEM workers and variation in the H-1B visa program to identify supply-driven STEM increases across cities. Increases in STEM workers are associated with significant wage gains for college-educated natives. Gains for non-college-educated natives are smaller but still significant. Our results imply that foreign STEM increased total factor productivity growth in US cities.

Date: 2015
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Chapter: STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: STEMWorkers, H1B Visas and Productivity in US Cities (2013) Downloads
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