The National Science Foundation, in pushing congress between 1987 and 1990 to establish the H-1B program, and expand F (student visa) and green-card programs, explicitly stated that they felt that PhD salaries in science and engineering were too high, and advocated bringing in foreign students to hold down wages. It also stated that a consequence of this would be that Americans would not find PhD study financially attractive and thus would not pursue it. The NSF stated:
"A growing influx of foreign PhDs into USA labor markets will hold down the level of PhD salaries to the extent that foreign students are attracted to USA doctoral programs as a way of immigrating to the USA. A related point is that for this group the PhD salary premium is much higher [than it is for Americans], because it is based on BS-level pay in students' home nations versus PhD-level pay in the USA... [If] doctoral studies are failing to appeal to a large (or growing) percentage of the best citizen baccalaureates, then a key issue is pay... A number of [the Americans] will select alternative career paths... For these baccalaureates, the effective premium for acquiring a PhD may actually be negative."
NBER paper on NSF
NBER paper on time-line
comments on Policy and Research Analysis Division of the NSF
alternate link (pdf visited 2018-12-10)
"A decade after lambasting the National Science Foundation (NSF) for botching a study of the science job market, Congress has asked the agency to once again take on the politically risky task of predicting how many high-tech workers the United States will need over the next decade... Nonetheless, such projections can spark a political fire-storm, as NSF learned after a 1987 study, led by Peter House, warned of a coming 'short-fall' of several hundred thousand scientists. After the forecast proved false, law-makers questioned the agency's reputation for dispassionate analysis (Science, 1992 February 14, pg788)." 1998-12-04 vol 282 issue 5395
Gene Nelson, PhD
There was no shortage of talented US citizen STEM workers.
There is no shortage of talented US citizen STEM workers.
No credible evidence of impending shortage of talented US citizen STEM workers has been produced.
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