I have participated in innovative research projects in the following areas. (To download, click on the paper name. This takes you to SSRN or direct to the PDF, from where you can click on “One click download” to get a free copy of the paper).
- Immigration and the reverse brain drain
- Workforce development
- Globalization of research and development/innovation/outsourcing
I have been fortunate to work with with the following world-renowned academics:
- Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, Silicon Valley
- Gary Gereffi, Professor, Duke University, Department of Sociology/Director, Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness
- AnnaLee Saxenian, Dean and Professor University of California, Berkeley, School of Information
Entrepreneurs are among the most celebrated people in our culture. Celebrity entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, often grace the covers of prominent publications. These company founders and innovators fuel economic growth and give the nation its competitive edge. However, very little is known today about the backgrounds, life histories, motivations and beliefs of these entrepreneurs. So myths and stereotypes prevail. The commonly held belief is that entrepreneurs are young, lightly-educated, childless unmarried workaholics. They are perceived to come from rich families and graduate from elite colleges.
But is this true? This research answers some of these questions. This is based on a survey of 549 company founders in 12 high-growth industries. It finds that most founders came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds, are well-educated and married with children. The strongest motivation for starting a company was to "build wealth". Other popular motivators included capitalizing on a business idea; the appeal of a startup culture; a desire to own a company; and a lack of interest in working for someone else.
In this paper, we researched company founders’ observations and insights about their own trajectory and what most influenced the success or failure of their businesses. Our findings contradicted widely held beliefs about launching a business and entrepreneurship. The four most important factors for entrepreneurial success, according to our respondents, are management teams. prior work experience, learning from successes and failures, and luck.
Funding and networks also were key factors. Few of the respondents accepted angel of venture capital financing in their first ventures. Another unexpected finding was the limited of reliance on alumni networks; However, lessons learned in college are highly valued, especially for Ivy League alumni.
This paper is the fourth in a series of studies examining the contribution and effect of skilled immigrants to the technology sector. Our previous research showed that immigrants were CEOs or lead technologists in one of every four tech and engineering companies started in the United States from 1995 to 2005 and in 52 percent of Silicon Valley startups. These immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2006. The founders tended to be highly educated in science-, technology-, mathematics-, and engineering- (STEM) related disciplines, with 75 percent holding a masters or PhD (Wadhwa, Rissing, Saxenian, et al., 2007). Using the World Intellectual Property Organization’s patent database, we found that the contribution of foreign nationals residing in the U.S. to global patents had increased more than threefold over an eight-year period (Wadhwa, Rissing, Chopra, at al., 2007). The motivation for the current study
The United States has long served as a magnet for talented scientists, engineers and mathematicians from China and India. This attraction has proven controversial, both in Asia and in the United States. Economic nationalists in China and India have long complained that the "brain drain" damaged their countries’ ability to compete and slowed economic development by skimming off the best talent. For their part, critics in the United States claimed that foreign workers arriving on H-1B visas displaced U.S. knowledge workers and pushed down wages for this class of employment. In the past five years, however, the pull of the United States has clearly lessened as the entry barriers for immigrants have become more formidable and as rapid economic development in India and China now provides enhanced professional and entrepreneurial opportunities plus a better quality of life than was previously possible in those countries. More recently, long waits for permanent or extended work visas have discouraged hundreds of thousands of immigrants. And the ongoing financial crisis in the United States has caused a xenophobic backlash, including legal steps taken by the U.S. Congress to limit the award of temporary H-1B visas by U.S. financial corporations receiving bailout funds.