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July 04, 2012


This is a classic lack of control problem. The unreported figure is what percentage of patents have at least one native inventor?

The answer is probably something like 95%. Publishing the control would show how meaningless this "study" is.

In this thread a study finds something that surprises nobody.

Following up on Mr. Slade's point:


In general, beware the indictment this quietly makes about the US and its citizens.

Given that educational and skills-based immigration tends to weed out at least the bottom 30% or so there's already some improved likelihood that a typical cross section of immigrants would have over a typical cross section of native-born citizens in most any comparison. Second, consider how actively universities recruit outside the nation. Third, consider the opportunities. Research is largely done by post-grads who are paid minimally compared to "real-world" jobs. This predisposes domestic students to leave further years of incurring further debt while foreign students conversely stay on campus to extend visas and improve chances of landing work visas.

At the end of the day, 5% of the world cannot provide 95% of the innovation, but there are some mechanisms actually disadvantaging the 5% in question in their own nation. Cleverly cherry-picked statistics are doing little to reverse that trend.

These studies are now becoming transparent, they violate the first rule of algebra -- you can't divide patents by immigrants they are not like terms.

When you actually do track down the numbers that these "studies" will not include(i.e. total inventors in this case), you'll find that that immigrant participation is the same as the immigrant population.

Almost all U.S. citizens' ancestors were immigrants. Immigrants have, historically, always been a boon to the U.S. economy, culture, and sciences. I don't see why the world of patents would be any different.

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