Chapter 14: Foreign scientists and engineers and economic growth in Canadian labor markets
Scientists, Technology professionals, Engineers, and Mathematicians – STEM workers or scientists and engineers for brevity – are the drivers of scientific and technological innovation and adoption. Several studies (e.g. Rauch, 1993; Iranzo and Peri, 2009) have emphasized the importance of a concentration of college-educated workers in enhancing local productivity. An agglomeration of scientists and engineers generates agglomerations of productive industries (Ellison and Glaeser, 1999) that, in turn, create local externalities and virtuous cycles of innovation (Jaffe et al., 1993; Saxenian, 2002). The presence of STEM workers in a local economy, such as a city, has been considered a main driver of productivity growth and economic success. Attracting highly educated workers, and especially scientists and engineers, has been considered as a key strategy to promote economic growth in many developed countries. Moreover, some countries consider attracting highly educated workers to be a main goal of their immigration policies. In particular, Canadian immigration policies of the last 30 years have been designed to attract STEM workers from the rest of the world. Canada’s point system favors foreign-born individuals with high educational attainment and employment in ‘specialty’ occupations, among which scientists and engineers rank highly.
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