Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 10:21 am

Science, Technology and Immigration

Question A: Allowing US-based employers to hire many more immigrants with advanced degrees in science or engineering would lower (at least temporarily) the premium earned by current American workers with similar degrees.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question B: Allowing US-based employers to hire many more immigrants with advanced degrees in science or engineering would raise per capita income in the US over time.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question A Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Uncertain 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 8
Labor demand curves are generally downward sloping
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Uncertain 8
Highly skilled researchers create positive spillovers and make the overall environment more productive, which can boost other skilled worker
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 7
Two mechanisms- 2nd is to increase demand for the complementary workers.
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 6
The short-run story is supply-versus-demand. In the long run, high-skill immigration could perhaps increase demand for high-skill workers,
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Agree 7
probably not by much given the magnitude of the new flow vs size of existing stock but directionally, yes
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Agree 7
This seems very likely. The immigrants are chiefly substitutes for the US scientists. However, some might be complements, offsetting this.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Uncertain 8
Scientists could be complements or substitutes
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Disagree 8
Any effect would be tiny at any politically feasible level of such immigration.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Uncertain 3
More immigrants exert downward pressure, but create more jobs that create upward pressure.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Uncertain 4 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 5
One would expect a temporary decrease in the premium, but it is not obvious that the effect would be significant or long-lasting.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Uncertain 1
Obvious effects by shifting supply; however, this will also affect where production takes place, so demand shifts as well
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Agree 3
Quarterly question aimed at weeding out respondents who are asleep or don't believe in supply and demand. Or course magnitudes unknown.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Agree 8
"Temporary" is key. Hard to see anything else in the short run. But long run effects could be positive even for these workers.
Bio/Vote History
         

Question B Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 7
Much U.S. wealth comes from innovation, and foreign-born STEM workers are a huge contributor to that efffort
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Agree 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 6
Labor of this type is a key factor input that is apparently not in plentiful supply. More of it would likely raise per-capita GDP.
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Agree 10
see under 'History, American'
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Agree 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Agree 7
A simple free trade argument suggest that the U.S. would gain overall. The problem is that there may be losers as well as winners.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Uncertain 10
Statement requires certain complementarities on which evidence is so far from strong & precise that certainty would be silly.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Strongly Agree 8
Complementarities with other factors, including labor, imply that they would see demand increase.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Strongly Agree 10
More highly skilled immigrants here, more jobs here, more income here, generate more jobs in services and more innovation.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Strongly Agree 1 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Strongly Agree 8
The ability to bring the best and the brightest from throughout the world to our economy is a great resource.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Agree 9
Disclosure: I benefited from a policy that allowed Universities to hire foreign nationals with advanced degrees to their faculty.
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Agree 7
Most other workers are complements to those with advanced degrees, hence this will raise the demand for their skills
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Strongly Agree 6
Clearly high skill labor increases economic growth though not equally.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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