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

Richard B. Freeman

Chapter in NBER book Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 15 (2015), William R. Kerr, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern, editors (p. 153 - 175)
Conference held April 8, 2014
Published in August 2015 by University of Chicago Press
© 2015 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in NBER Book Series Innovation Policy and the 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.

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This paper was revised on May 6, 2014

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w20521, Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy, Richard B. Freeman
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