Since the late 1950s, the engineering job market in the United States has been fraught with fears of a shortage of engineering skill and talent. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy brings clarity to issues of supply and demand in this important market. Following a general overview of engineering-labor market trends, the volume examines the educational pathways of undergraduate engineers and their entry into the labor market, the impact of engineers working in firms on productivity and innovation, and different dimensions of the changing engineering labor market, from licensing to changes in demand and guest worker programs.
The volume provides insights on engineering education, practice, and careers that can inform educational institutions, funding agencies, and policy makers about the challenges facing the United States in developing its engineering workforce in the global economy.
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.
Is the United States falling behind in the global race for scientific and engineering talent? Are U.S. employers facing shortages of the skilled workers that they need to compete in a globalized world? Such claims from some employers and educators have been widely embraced by mainstream media and political leaders, and have figured prominently in recent policy debates about education, federal expenditures, tax policy, and immigration. Falling Behind? offers careful examinations of the existing evidence and of its use by those involved in these debates.
These concerns are by no means a recent phenomenon. Examining historical precedent, Michael Teitelbaum highlights five episodes of alarm about "falling behind" that go back nearly seventy years to the end of World War II. In each of these episodes the political system responded by rapidly expanding the supply of scientists and engineers, but only a few years later political enthusiasm or economic demand waned. Booms turned to busts, leaving many of those who had been encouraged to pursue science and engineering careers facing disheartening career prospects. Their experiences deterred younger and equally talented students from following in their footsteps—thereby sowing the seeds of the next cycle of alarm, boom, and bust.
Falling Behind? examines these repeated cycles up to the present, shedding new light on the adequacy of the science and engineering workforce for the current and future needs of the United States.
Beginning in the early 2000s, there was an upsurge of national concern over the state of the science and engineering job market that sparked a plethora of studies, commission reports, and a presidential initiative, all stressing the importance of maintaining American competitiveness in these fields. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States is the first major academic study to probe the issues that underlie these concerns.
This volume provides new information on the economics of the postgraduate science and engineering job market, addressing such topics as the factors that determine the supply of PhDs, the career paths they follow after graduation, and the creation and use of knowledge as it is reflected by the amount of papers and patents produced. A distinguished team of contributors also explores the tensions between industry and academe in recruiting graduates, the influx of foreign-born doctorates, and the success of female doctorates. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States will raise new questions about stimulating innovation and growth in the American economy
National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report