Skilled immigration, innovation, and the wages of native-born Americans

Asadul Islam, Faridul Islam, Chau Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The paper examines the effects of skilled immigration on wages that can be credited to immigrants’ contribution to innovation. Using both individual and state-level datasets from the United States, we find a significant and positive effect of immigration on wages that is attributable to skilled immigrants’ contribution to innovation. Our results confirm previous findings that immigrants contribute substantially to the host economy's innovation, which is a major driver of technological progress and productivity growth. When we augment the analysis to an immigration–innovation–wages nexus, the results suggest that as the share of skilled immigrants in a particular skill group increases, the wages of both natives and immigrants in that group also get a positive boost. We also identify evidence in favor of a positive spillover effect of skilled immigrants on a state's wage level of all workers, including those who do not directly contribute to innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-488
Number of pages30
JournalIndustrial Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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