NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Tom Nicholas

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
Tel: 617/495-6505

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2017Immigration and the Rise of American Ingenuity
with Ufuk Akcigit, John Grigsby: 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 2017The Rise of American Ingenuity: Innovation and Inventors of the Golden Age
with Ufuk Akcigit, John Grigsby: 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...
August 2014Did Bank Distress Stifle Innovation During the Great Depression?
with Ramana Nanda: w20392
We find a negative relationship between bank distress and the level, quality and trajectory of firm-level innovation during the Great Depression, particularly for R&D firms operating in capital intensive industries. However, we also show that because a sufficient number of R&D intensive firms were located in counties with lower levels of bank distress, or were operating in less capital intensive industries, the negative effects were mitigated in aggregate. Although Depression era bank distress was associated with the stifling of innovation, our results also help to explain why technological development was still robust following one of the largest shocks in the history of the U.S. banking system.

Published: Nanda, Ramana & Nicholas, Tom, 2014. "Did bank distress stifle innovation during the Great Depression?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 273-292. citation courtesy of

 
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