The main reasons there well could be more STEM graduates in America than needed are probably more related to government interventions in the free market that have been putting a major crimp in the economy during recent decades, plus government money distorting the career choices of students both in the USA and all over the world.

Immigration is a hot-button issue in times of economic slow-down, when people who would rather work for their living than get freebies, have a harder time finding work.

Chile went from being just another backward Latin country (albeit with a rich intellectual tradition already) before and especially under Allende (no "Salvador" he), to joining the club of developed nations in just a couple of decades when they took the government largely out of the equation.

Immigration policy is just another example of how layers of government rules written by concentrations of interest (big corporations, labor unions, international bankers, government, secret societies) mess things up and then have to make ever more rules to fix the problems of previous rules.

America has been resilient against such corruptions so far but there seems a mad rush to the abyss now. Things will get so bad that America will eventually be "forced to" ask the UN for help. (Makes sense, since the UN helped mess it all up)

Central planning philosophy is your main culprit.



On 4/30/13 10:13 PM, TheBorg wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Norm Matloff
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:43 AM
To: TheBorg
Subject: WP to Congress--maybe no STEM shortage

To: H-1B/L-1/offshoring e-newsletter
Thu Apr 25 08:35:35 PDT 2013

EPI has a new study out, by Salzman and Lowell, the authors of the
landmark 2007 Urban Institute report that showed we're producing far
more STEM graduates than we need. There is also a third author
(actually, second), Daniel Kuehn, a talented doctoral student in
economics.

You can read the full study at

<http://www.epi.org/publication/bp359-guestworkers-high-skill-labor-market-analysis/>

and a Washington Post article on it at

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/study-there-may-not-be-a-shortage-of-american-stem-graduates-after-all/2013/04/24/66099962-acea-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html>

Yet another excellent piece by the Post's Jia Lynn Yang.

I have not yet read the study, just skimmed through it, and as always I
am concerned about the definition of IT. But I know all three authors
to be insightful, careful thinkers, and I look forward to reading it.

One thing I should mention about this new EPI study is that it does not
seem to take into account the quality issue. It is not the case that
all STEM graduates should get STEM jobs. In the software development
case, for instance, I've stated many times that hiring a weak person is
worse than not hiring anyone; they just mess things up. But we do not
have a shortage of high quality people either, and as I showed in my own
EPI paper, the average quality of the H-1Bs (mainstream, not workers in
the bodyshops) in computer science is weaker than that of the Americans.

It's interesting, and frustrating, that Congress ignores what I regard
as overwhelming evidence that increases in H-1B and green cards are
unwarranted, and that those programs actually should be reduced in scope
rather than expanded. Well, here is an article in their hometown
newspaper that is basically saying so. How will they deal with it?

Some of them will find comfort in the Post's description of EPI as "left
leaning," and dismiss the study as rank protectionism. Others will say
that we can't have too many STEM people (ignoring a 2012 Post article
showing how a glut of research scientists is ruining things for
everyone, and discouraging our own best and brightest from pursuing
doctoral work in science).

And as I have reported before, there is a strong sentiment of a "let's
steal the other countries' engineers," a silly, bound-to-fail notion on
various counts, such as the Saxenian research that showed that many
Asian immigrant engineers in Silicon Valley are quite active in helping
tech firms in their home countries. I suspect that President Obama
finds this last argument ("take their engineers") compelling, based on
various things I've seen him say.

And then, of course, there are the people on the Hill who share the
sentiment of former Rep. Tom Davis: "This is not a popular bill with
the people, but the CEOs want it, and they're the ones who give us the
money."

Though I state above that I consider the evidence against expanding
foreign tech worker programs overwhelming, I should in fairness mention
the research of my UC Davis colleague, Giovanni Peri, which is being
cited by some of the industry lobbyists. I've only skimmed through it
too, but already have a number of criticisms (note that it is just a
working paper, not having gone through peer review yet), chief among
them the fact that it does not really take into account the displacement
of Americans by foreign students at the advanced degree level.

But on more fundamentally, I've always objected to this particular genre
of H-1B research, popular among those economists who are strong
supporters of tech immigration (Peri, Zavodny), in which one takes such
INDIRECT looks at the issues. In Peri's case here, he doesn't
investigate questions such as whether there is a tech labor shortage, or
whether the foreign tech workers are underpaid. Instead, he asks
whether the presence of a lot of such workers is positively correlated
with improved conditions for everyone. I'm not an economist, but I am a
statistician, and this is kind of analysis is really very shaky.

I wonder if anyone in the DC-based press will be enterprising enough to
get comment from the Gang of 8 on this new study.

Norm

Archived at http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/EPI.txt



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