NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by William Lincoln

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Working Papers

April 2014Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration
with Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr: w20069
Firms play a central role in the selection, sponsorship, and employment of skilled immigrants entering the United States for work through programs like the H-1B visa. This role has not been widely recognized in the literature, and the data to better understand it have only recently become available. This chapter discusses the evidence that has been assembled to date in understanding the impact of high skilled immigration from the perspective of the firm and the open areas that call for more research. Since much of the U.S. immigration process for skilled workers rests in the hands of employer firms, a stronger understanding of these implications is essential for future policy analysis, particularly for issues relating to fostering innovation.

Forthcoming: Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration, Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr, William F. Lincoln. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 15, Kerr, Lerner, and Stern. 2014

November 2013Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of U.S. Firms
with Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr: w19658
We study the impact of skilled immigrants on the employment structures of U.S. firms using matched employer-employee data. Unlike most previous work, we use the firm as the lens of analysis to account for a greater level of heterogeneity and the fact that many skilled immigrant admissions are driven by firms themselves (e.g., the H-1B visa). OLS and IV specifications find rising overall employment of skilled workers with increased skilled immigrant employment by firm. Employment expansion is greater for younger natives than their older counterparts, and departure rates for older workers appear higher for those in STEM occupations compared to younger worker.
November 2011The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying
with William R. Kerr, Prachi Mishra: w17577
We study the determinants of the dynamics of firm lobbying behavior using a panel data set covering 1998-2006. Our data exhibit three striking facts: (i) few firms lobby, (ii) lobbying status is strongly associated with firm size, and (iii) lobbying status is highly persistent over time. Estimating a model of a firm's decision to engage in lobbying, we find significant evidence that up-front costs associated with entering the political process help explain all three facts. We then exploit a natural experiment in the expiration in legislation surrounding the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled immigrant workers to study how these costs affect firms' responses to policy changes. We find that companies primarily adjusted on the intensive margin: the firms that began to lobby for immigration were t...

Kerr, William R., William F. Lincoln, and Prachi Mishra. "The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (forthcoming). citation courtesy of

February 2010The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and US Ethnic Invention
with William R. Kerr: w15768
This study evaluates the impact of high-skilled immigrants on US technology formation. We use reduced-form specifications that exploit large changes in the H-1B visa program. Higher H-1B admissions increase immigrant science and engineering (SE) employment and patenting by inventors with Indian and Chinese names in cities and firms dependent upon the program relative to their peers. Most specifications find limited effects for native SE employment or patenting. We are able to rule out displacement effects, and small crowding-in effects may exist. Total SE employment and invention increases with higher admissions primarily through direct contributions of immigrants.

Published: William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, 07. citation courtesy of

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