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Skilled Immigration, Task Allocation and the Innovation of Firms

Anna Maria Mayda, Gianluca Orefice and Gianluca Santoni

No 10076, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of skilled migrants on the innovation (patenting) activity of French firms between 1995 and 2010, and investigates the underlying mechanism. We present district-level and firm-level estimates and address endogeneity using a modified version of the shift-share instrument. Skilled migrants increase the number of patents at both the district and firm level. Large, high-productivity and capital-intensive firms benefit the most, in terms of innovation activ-ity, from skilled immigrant workers. Importantly, we provide evidence that one channel through which the effect works is task specialization (as in Peri and Sparber, 2009). The arrival of skilled immigrants drives French skilled workers towards language-intensive, managerial tasks while foreign skilled workers specialize in technical, research-oriented tasks. This mechanism manifests itself in the estimated increase in the share of foreign inventors in patenting teams as a consequence of skilled migration. Through this channel, greater innovation is the result of productivity gains from specialization.

Keywords: skilled immigration; innovation; patents (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-cse, nep-dem, nep-eur, nep-ino, nep-int, nep-lab, nep-tid and nep-ure
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Working Paper: Skilled Immigration, Task Allocation and the Innovation of Firms (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Skilled Immigration, Task Allocation and the Innovation of Firms (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Skilled Immigration, Task Allocation and the Innovation of Firms (2022) Downloads
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