In their new NBER working paper, Ufuk Akcigit and collaborators John Grigsby and Tom Nicholas study the "macro and micro-level aspects of the relationship between immigration and innovation," and construct a measure of the "foreign-born expertise" effect on US innovation and the labor market. The researchers show that technology fields which had a prevalence of immigrant inventors between 1880 and 1940 produced more patents and citations between 1940 and 2000. Their results also find that although immigrant inventors were more productive during their life cycles than native-born inventors, their labor income was significantly lower.
Citing their study in a Bloomberg Quint article on the Executive Order on Immigration's impact on the tech sector, columnist Leonid Bershidsky offers this insight: "[i]mmigrant creativity is not just a resource for today; it's what has created America's innovation edge, and what will maintain it in the future. And one never knows where the people who lay the foundation of that future edge will come from."