Article | Journal of Labor Economics | July 2015

Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of U.S. Firms

by Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr and William F. Lincoln


We study the impact of skilled immigrants on the employment structures of U.S. firms using matched employer-employee data. Unlike most previous work, we use the firm as the lens of analysis to account for a greater level of heterogeneity and the fact that many skilled immigrant admissions are driven by firms themselves (e.g., the H-1B visa). OLS and IV specifications find rising overall employment of skilled workers with increased skilled immigrant employment by firm. Employment expansion is greater for younger natives than their older counterparts, and departure rates for older workers appear higher for those in STEM occupations compared to younger workers.

Keywords: immigration; employment; firms; age; Scientists; engineers; inventors; H-1B; Age; Employment; Immigration; United States;


Kerr, Sari Pekkala, William R. Kerr, and William F. Lincoln. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of U.S. Firms." Journal of Labor Economics 33, no. S1 (July 2015): S147–S186.