Fact of the Week: Immigrant-Owned High-Tech Firms Outperform Native-Owned Firms Across 15 of 16 Measures of Innovation

Caleb Foote March 18, 2019
March 18, 2019

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Immigrant-owned high-tech firms outperform native-owned firms across 15 of 16 measures of innovation.

Source: J. David Brown et al., “Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the U.S. High-Tech Sector,” NBER Working Paper No. 25565, February 2019.

Commentary: Proponents of increased high-skilled immigration routinely cite research that measures the size and growth of firms created by immigrant entrepreneurs. A new study goes farther, examining the performance of immigrant-owned high-tech firms across 16 metrics of innovation, from the production of publishable findings to patent applications. The study finds that immigrant-owned firms perform better on every metric except ownership of copyrights or trademarks. These results hold across all sizes of firms and when controlling for firms’ finances and industry sectors.