Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Genius Foreign Students"?? Nope. Scrooge Employers

Gotta love Matloff.

He's pinned the tail on the donkey (cheap-ass US universities and Scrooge employers) again. 

Where are all the native-born STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) students?  Being displaced by H1-B imported folks

...there is a new patent study that the proponents of expanded H-1B and green card programs are splashing so much all over the press that I need to comment. 

In 2011, 76% of patents awarded to the top 10 patent-producing American universities had at least one foreign-born inventor, according to the report.  [quoting the WSJ]

Now Matloff, a stats prof, disembowels the author(s):

1.  Since there are large numbers of foreign nationals at U.S. universities, it is natural that a large number of them have their names on patents produced by those schools.  It does not mean that the foreigners are more innovative than the American students and post docs

 2.  The phrase "at least one foreign-born inventor" is quite slippery. If just one foreigner is listed, together with say 7 Americans, the study counts this patent at "foreign."

Just to do a rough probability analysis:  Say every patent lists 5 names, and that 30% of the university research population is foreign. If the nationalities of the 5 inventors were independent random variables, the probability of having at least 1 foreign inventor among the 5 would be 83%, huge compared to the 30%--exactly the kind of misleading statistic the PR people who wrote the study want to present.

"Elegant" liars, not your common Congressman liars.  Liars, nonetheless.

You say, "So what?"  Matloff thought about that, too:

...the reason there are so many foreign students in these grad programs is basically H-1B:  H-1B draws in the foreign students, hoping for a job after graduation; the influx suppresses wages, causing America's best and brightest to avoid STEM careers.  An influential National Science Foundation position paper predicted this 20 years ago, and it proved quite prophetic.

My own recent research found that the former foreign students, now working in industry, are actually LESS likely to produce a patent than are Americans of the same age, education etc., in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering.

So, the less innovative are displacing the more innovative, a net loss.

We have over 20 years' proof that H1-B does not further the national interest.  However, it DOES further the interests of University research programs and cheap-ass US employers (but I repeat myself).

Yet Congress continues the program in a genuine bi-partisan fashion every year, proving that they can be bi-partisan when the same interests purchase both sides of the aisle.


Find Matloff's work here.

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arman said...
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