Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy

Citation:

Richard B. Freeman. 2015. “Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy .” In NBER book: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 15, edited by William R. Kerr, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern, Pp. 153 - 175. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's Version
Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy

Abstract:

Globalization of scientific and technological knowledge has reduced the US share of world scientific activity; increased the foreign-born proportion of scientists and engineers in US universities and in the US labor market; and led to greater US scientific collaborations with other countries. China's massive investments in university education and R&D have in particular made it a special partner for the US in scientific work. These developments have substantial implications for US science and technology policy. This paper suggests that aligning immigration policies more closely to the influx of international students; granting fellowships to students working on turning scientific and technological into commercial innovations; and requiring firms with R&D tax credits or other government R&D funding develop "impact plans" to use their new knowledge to produce innovative products or processes in the US could help the country adjust to the changing global world of science and technology.