Sunday, July 05, 2009

Internationalization of US Graduate Education

Sarah H. Wright at NBER Digest: The Internationalization of US Graduate Education, a summary of a paper by John Bound, Sarah Turner, and Patrick Walsh.

While there is no direct evidence of [US citizens getting "crowded out" by the increasing number of foreign grad students from] doctoral programs, the influx of foreigners into the science and engineering labor market in the United States has changed the return to investment in advanced degrees in science and engineering for U.S. residents. Bound, Turner, and Walsh suggest that these effects explain why domestic demand for programs in science and engineering has remained stagnant or declined in the period of increasing foreign demand. Over the last quarter century, the relative returns to U.S. students from advanced study in the sciences have not increased. Labor market data show that the earnings of new advanced degree recipients in science-and-engineering fields trail earnings for other college-educated workers. At U.S. universities, the extended duration of low-wage post-doctorate appointments has lengthened the time between entry and completion of graduate school; the salary gap between senior and junior faculty has widened; and permanent university employment is uncertain.


  1. Anonymous said...

    This issue of shortfalls in scientific manpower is replete with strong/inconsistent arguments by both sides. Don't know what exactly is the true picture.

    For e.g. from a recent news article (Scientist shortage? Maybe not)

    "...slow growth of U.S.-born STEM workers, may have less to do with funding commitments than with cloudy career paths and low wages relative to other specialized careers such as medicine, law and finance..."

    Why don't US univs curtail foreign admissions if there is a real problem with STEM jobs for native workers.

    Or maybe as Greenberg expounds in his book funding controversies in science is nothing but pure politics