Impact of U.S. Immigration Barriers on Global Advancement of Science

A recent journal article discusses Why U.S. Immigration Barriers Matter for the Global Advancement of Science.

As the abstract notes, the report makes four key findings:

First, among Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, migrants to the U.S. play a central role in the global knowledge network— representing 20-33% of the frontier knowledge producers. Second, using novel survey data and hand-curated life-histories of International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, we show that migrants to the U.S. are up to six times more productive than migrants to other countries—even after accounting for talent during one’s teenage years. Third, financing costs are a key factor preventing foreign talent from migrating abroad to pursue their dream careers, particularly talent from developing countries. Fourth, certain ‘push’ incentives that reduce immigration barriers – by addressing financing constraints for top foreign talent – could increase the global scientific output of future cohorts by 42% percent.

The report notes that:

A thorough examination of why and how U.S. immigration barriers matter is timely from the perspective of global science. By preventing many of the world’s brightest talent from studying and working where they have been most productive, high immigration barriers are likely to hurt both the talented individuals and the advancement of global knowledge. Even in the absence of immigration policy changes or uncertainty, a reduction in migration to the U.S. might occur due to COVID-19. Additionally, U.S. borders may be less open in the futuredue to potentially rising nationalism. The scale of the threat to the advancement of science remains sizable.

Read the full article here.