John Bound

Postdoctoral Researchers: The Impact of Labor Regulations and Visa Policy

Research Project Description

The project examines how labor market regulations and immigration policies affect "price" and "quantity" in the scientific labor market in terms of the relative costs of different types of research personnel (graduate students, post-docs, and permanent staff), and the potential for hiring post-doctorate scientists from abroad. With a substantial (and growing) pool of doctorate recipients from abroad, changes in immigration policies over the last decade - including the extension of the J visa (from a 3 to 5 years) and the extension of the F visa to allow 27 months of employment for STEM degree recipients - affect the potential pool of scientists in the U.S. In addition, the proposed rise in the FLSA minimum salary threshold for exclusion from overtime requirements to $47,476 in December 2016 (which was ultimately thrown out) would have set a binding floor on salaries for post-doctoral scientists, with substantial impacts on budgets. We plan to use rich administrative data to identify the demand for scientific personnel, including effects on earnings and the distribution of employment, which ultimately impacts scientific output and innovation.

Funding: National Science Foundation (subcontract: GA11260.156640)

Funding Period: 8/1/2017 to 7/31/2019

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