Department of Economics
University of Chicago
1160 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|February 2017||Immigration and the Rise of American Ingenuity|
with Ufuk Akcigit, Tom Nicholas: w23137
This paper builds on the analysis in Akcigit et al. (2017) by using US patent and Census data to examine macro and micro-level aspects of the relationship between immigration and innovation. We construct a measure of foreign born expertise and show that technology areas where immigrant inventors were prevalent between 1880 and 1940 experienced more patenting and citations between 1940 and 2000. We also show that immigrant inventors were more productive during their life cycle than native born inventors, although they received significantly lower levels of labor income than their native born counterparts. Overall, the contribution of foreign born inventors to US innovation was substantial, but we also find evidence of an immigrant inventor wage-gap that cannot be explained by differentials ...
Published: Ufuk Akcigit & John Grigsby & Tom Nicholas, 2017. "Immigration and the Rise of American Ingenuity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 327-331, May. citation courtesy of
|January 2017||The Rise of American Ingenuity: Innovation and Inventors of the Golden Age|
with Ufuk Akcigit, Tom Nicholas: w23047
We examine the golden age of U.S. innovation by undertaking a major data collection exercise linking historical U.S. patents to state and county-level aggregates and matching inventors to Federal Censuses between 1880 and 1940. We identify a causal relationship between patented inventions and long-run economic growth and outline a basic framework for analyzing key macro and micro-level determinants. We find a positive relationship between innovation and drivers of regional performance including population density, financial development and geographic connectedness. We also explore the impact of social structure measured by slavery and religion. We then profile the characteristics of inventors and their life cycle finding that inventors were highly educated, positively selected through exit...