Immigrants Can Help Boost American Innovation And Economic Growth | Forbes


“Boosting economic growth” is a bipartisan goal. In fact, both the 2016 presidential candidates mentioned some version of it on their campaign websites. One way to boost economic growth is to increase the number of people working, and one way to get more people working is to increase immigration. Economic evidence shows that, in addition to boosting economic growth, immigration leads to a positive impact on wages of native-born workers.

Evidence also suggests that immigration boosts innovation. A recent study by one of us looks at the effect of Jewish émigrés from Germany during World War II on American innovators and innovation. The study finds a significant increase in innovation—in fields entered by immigrants, there is a 30% increase in patents by domestic inventors. These benefits are driven at least in part by contacts between immigrants and native inventors. One of the mechanisms at play is that American inventors come into contact with new sets of ideas and methods that they then use for their own work.

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