Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2014

Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration

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


Firms play a central role in the selection, sponsorship, and employment of skilled immigrants entering the United States for work through programs like the H-1B visa. This role has not been widely recognized in the literature, and the data to better understand it have only recently become available. This paper discusses the evidence that has been assembled to date in understanding the impact of high-skilled immigration from the perspective of the firm and the open areas that call for more research. Since much of the U.S. immigration process for skilled workers rests in the hands of employer firms, a stronger understanding of these implications is essential for future policy analysis, particularly for issues relating to fostering innovation.

Keywords: immigration; firms; innovation; entrepreneurship; Selection and Staffing; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Immigration; United States;


Pekkala Kerr, Sari, William R. Kerr, and William F. Lincoln. "Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-102, April 2014.