Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your High-Skilled Labor: H-1B Lottery Outcomes and Entrepreneurial Success
We study how access to high-skill labor affects the outcomes of start-up firms. We obtain exogenous variation in firms’ ability to access skilled labor by using win rates in H-1B visa lotteries. Relative to other firms that also applied for H-1B visas, firms with higher lottery win rates are more likely to receive additional venture capital funding and to have a successful exit via an IPO or acquisition. H-1B visa lottery winners also subsequently receive more patents and patent citations. Overall, our results show that access to high-skill labor is a critical determinant of success for start-up firms.
We thank Yunju Cha, Yu Sheng Loh, and Chunxue Yang for excellent research assistance. For helpful comments we thank Kai Li, Tim McQuade, seminar participants at Australia National University, and participants at the Western Finance Association Conference and the Red Rock Finance Conference. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and not the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Scott J. Weisbenner
- Young firms that employ high-skilled foreign workers are more likely to attract high-reputation venture capital and win more patents...