William R. Kerr
Harvard Business School, Finance Working Paper No. 08-006
Immigrants are playing an increasingly important role in technology innovation in the United States. The authors of this study gathered data on the ethnic makeup of individuals granted a U.S. patent or trademark between 1975 and 2004, and found that although the number of Europeans residing in the U.S. filing for patents decreased during that period, the number of patents filed by Chinese and Indian workers increased dramatically.
Legislators must understand the importance of foreign nationals as contributors to domestic technology innovation and consider the effects that immigration policies, such as quotas on H1-B temporary visas, may have on the pace of U.S. innovation.