NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Immigration and Entrepreneurship in the United States

Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, J. Daniel Kim, Javier Miranda

NBER Working Paper No. 27778
Issued in September 2020
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Immigration can expand labor supply and create greater competition for native-born workers. But immigrants may also start new firms, expanding labor demand. This paper uses U.S. administrative data and other data resources to study the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship. We ask how often immigrants start companies, how many jobs these firms create, and how these firms compare with those founded by U.S.-born individuals. A simple model provides a measurement framework for addressing the dual roles of immigrants as founders and workers. The findings suggest that immigrants act more as "job creators" than "job takers" and that non-U.S. born founders play outsized roles in U.S. high-growth entrepreneurship.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27778

 
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