Immigration Is Good for the Economy 2: Inventions

The falsely praised THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein doesn’t even mention “patents” or “entrepreneurship” anywhere in his study. This oversight (I don’t want to accuse Edwin Rubenstein of intentionally misleading his readers) casts real doubt on the sincerity of this report.

Focusing on skilled immigration, Professor Jennifer Hunt in this study states:

“Twenty-six percent of U.S.-based Nobel Prize recipients from 1990-2000 were immigrants (Peri 2007), as were twenty-five percent of founders of public venture-backed U.S. companies in 1990-2005 (Anderson and Platzer n.d.), compared to a foreign-born population of 12% in 2000” (Hunt, 1),

and that:

“Immigrants account for 24% of patents, twice their share in the population” (Hunt, 3),


“A one percentage point rise in the share of immigrant college graduates in the population increases patents per capita by 8-22% . . . the state-level results mean that the 1990-2000 increase in the population share of this group from 2.2 to 3.5% increased patents by 10-29% . . . I find that immigrants have more than double the impact on innovation that natives do” (Hunt, 4).

Immigrants are more inventive than natives. Period.

Another World Bank working paper on foreign graduate student by Chellaraj, Maskus, and Mattoo computes:

“That the sensitivity of patents activity with respect to foreign graduate students is more than four times larger than that with respect to skilled immigration” (18). “A marginal impact of another foreign graduate student [is] around .63 patent applications” (20).

While some patents turn out to be totally worthless, some have radically improved human welfare. The point is that the next Carnegie or Einstein could be wasting away in an undeveloped nation instead of filing patents in America. How much tax revenue has been collected due to the enormous number of patents filed by foreign student or immigrants? How many thousands of firms make more money because of these inventions? Also, how many billions of dollars in value have been created by ventures where one of the founders was an immigrant? Google, Yahoo!, and eBay were all co-founded by Americans who immigrated as children.

All of these revelations and more show THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein is a work of political ideology with a thin veneer of sincerity.