The Economics of Cultural Diversity
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The Economics of Cultural Diversity

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Jessie Bakens

The populations of many countries in the world are becoming more culturally diverse. This spurs a growing need for an informed debate on the socio-economic implications of cultural diversity. This book offers a solid statistical and econometric perspective on this topical subject by bringing together studies from different countries in Europe and North America. The research in this volume sheds light on several consequences of cultural diversity, including positive impacts on innovation, growth and entrepreneurship, with contributions highlighting how there can be negative social effects on communities. Throughout the volume, it is evident that the effects of cultural diversity on socio-economic outcomes depend largely on the characteristics of local economies, populations and communities.
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Chapter 14: Foreign scientists and engineers and economic growth in Canadian labor markets

Giovanni Peri and Kevin Shih

Extract

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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