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Economic Seminar Series – Mikal Skuterud, University of Waterloo

Immigrants and Patents: Evidence from Canadian Cities

We examine the effect of changes in skilled-immigrant population shares in 98 Canadian cities between 1981 and 2006 on patents per capita granted to inventors residing in those cities. The Canadian case is of interest because its points system for selecting immigrants is viewed by many as a model of skilled immigration policy. Our naïve and instrumental variables estimates suggest much smaller beneficial impacts of increasing the university-educated immigrant population share than comparable U.S. estimates, whereas our estimates for university-educated natives are virtually identical. The relatively modest contribution of Canadian immigrants to innovation appears to be largely explained by the relatively low employment rates of Canadian immigrants in STEM jobs, including among those educated in STEM fields.


September 30, 2016

444 Fronczak Hall