Migrants to the U.S. and other countries are at the forefront of global knowledge production, comprising 33 percent of Nobel prize winners and 63 percent of Fields medalists for mathematics. This study, published by IZA Institute of Labor Economics, explores the impact of U.S. immigration policies on global scientific output. The report suggests that policy reforms designed to lower immigration-related costs for top foreign talent would result in an estimated 42 percent increase of scientific output worldwide. Some of the reforms include expanding the number of visas available for work-based immigration; offering more scholarships to ease the financial burdens on aspiring international students; developing new international talent hubs in other countries, creating campuses of western universities in developing countries, and improving preparatory schools in sending countries. In a survey of 610 International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, the authors confirmed that financial constraints are the foremost obstacle to studying in the U.S., more significant even than a hostile or unwelcoming immigration climate. They urge the scientific community as well as global policymakers to evaluate the far-reaching consequences of immigration barriers on promising foreign students, and to make changes that will maximize educational opportunity and knowledge output. (Lara Carbine for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
Why U.S. Immigration Barriers Matter for the Global Advancement of Science
IZA Institute of Labor Economics, January 2021, 34 pp.
Authors: Ruchir Agarwal et al