Author: Ina Ganguli, SITE.
Immigration is a hotly contested policy issue in many countries. Often, the debate centers on whether immigration is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for the receiving country. A growing literature in economics focuses on understanding whether immigrants can be beneficial for a receiving economy by helping spread knowledge and increasing innovative activities. In this policy brief, I discuss new evidence showing that immigrants can be an important channel for diffusing knowledge across national borders. Drawing upon the influx of Russian scientists to the United States after the end of the Soviet Union, I present compelling evidence that immigrants contributed to cross-border knowledge flows, which are the basis for innovation and ultimately economic growth.