TED Conversations

Alex Tabarrok

George Mason University


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Can immigration increase innovation? If so, how?

The US economy is currently stagnating. To what extent could immigration improve (or not) the economy in the short run and what about increasing innovation in the long run? I offer some arguments in my TED e-book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance. I am interested, however, in what TEDsters have to say and in particular on their experiences as both employers, immigrants and competitors!

Jan. 30, 2012, 2:00pm EST/ 11:00am PST


Closing Statement from Alex Tabarrok

Lots of good ideas came up. What struck me most was the importance of maintaining flexible institutions such as a free and open economy and schooling open to all so that immigrants are able to rise and spread throughout society and do not become confined to particular places or professions.

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    Jan 30 2012: I don't live in the US but where I live (Finland), because of different factors, happens something similar. There's two types of "immigrants". The highly skilled workforce that either moved here because of a job in the Tech, Science or Engineering areas or for marrying a Finn (my case). Or the refugees that come from missions in Africa where Finland aid is very active.

    In my case I believe that I bring a different perspective of life and working experience and for these facts alone I create innovation.
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      Jan 30 2012: How does Finland integrate the lower-skilled workers? Is the school system becoming strained?
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        Jan 30 2012: Finland as a system of integration for immigrants without skills that will depend on government help, and the base of this is trough teaching the language and a professional skill, during an introductory year, where they are payed.

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