Chad Sparber

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Chad Sparber

W. Bradford Wiley Chair in International Economics; Professor of Economics

Department/Office Information

228 Persson Hall

I examine the causes and consequences of U.S. immigration with a focus on the connection between immigration and skills. My questions of interest include: What skills do immigrants bring to the U.S. economy? What are the economic effects of the increase in skills that immigrants bring to the U.S.? And how has U.S. government policy intervention changed the supply of immigrants’ skills?

Download Curriculum Vitae

Immigration, International Economics, Labor Economics, Urban Economics

  • PhD (2006), MA (2002), University of California-Davis
    • Economics
  • BA (2000), Western Washington University
    • Major: Economics
    • Minor: Humanities

Links to most of my publications and working papers can also be found here or by request. (*Denotes undergraduate student coauthor.)


  • Buying Lottery Tickets for Foreign Workers: Lost Quota Rents Induced by H-1B Policy” (with Rishi Sharma), accepted for publication at Journal of International Economics, 26 March 2024.
  • “Coping with H-1B Shortages: Firm Performance and Mitigation Strategies” (with Anna Maria Mayda, Francesc Ortega, Giovanni Peri, and Kevin Shih), Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 76 (5): 919-943, October 2023. (Published VersionWorking Paper).
  • “Immigration, Working Conditions, and Compensating Differentials” (with Madeline Zavodny), Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 75 (4): 1054-1081, August 2022. (Published VersionWorking Paper).
  • “New Data and Facts on H-1B Workers across Firms” (with Anna Maria Mayda, Francesc Ortega, Giovanni Peri, and Kevin Shih) in The Roles of Immigrants and Foreign Students in US Science, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Edited by Ina Ganguli, Shulamit Kahn, Megan MacGarvie, University of Chicago Press. February 2020.
  • “Estimating the Determinants of Remittances Originating from U.S. Households using CPS Data” (with Nicole B. Simpson), Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 46 (1): 161-189, January 2020.
  • “Substitution between Groups of Highly-Educated, Foreign-Born, H-1B Workers,” Labour Economics, Vol. 61, December 2019.
  • “The Effect of the H-1B Quota on the Employment and Selection of Foreign-Born Labor” (with Anna Maria Mayda, Francesc Ortega, Giovanni Peri, and Kevin Shih), European Economic Review, Vol. 108: 105-128, September 2018. (Published Paper)
  • “Choosing Skilled Foreign-Born Workers: Evaluating Alternative Methods for Allocating H-1B Work Permits,” Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 57 (1): 3-34, January 2018. (Published PaperWorking Paper 2017) [Earlier Version Title: “Building a Better H-1B Program” (Working Paper 2015)]
  • “The Native-Born Occupational Skill Response to Immigration within Education and Experience Cells” (with Emily Gu*), Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 43 (3): 426-450, June 2017. (Working Paper Version)
  • “The Effect of Legal Status on Immigrant Wages and Occupational Skills” (with Quinn Steigleder*, undergraduate student), ​Applied Economics Letters, Vol. 24 (2): 80-84, 2017. (Published PaperWorking Paper)
  • “Skilled Immigrants: Economic Contribution and Policy Implications” (with Francesc Ortega) in Refugees and Economic Migrants: Facts, Policies, and Challenges, Francesco Fasani ed., London: CEPR Press, Centre for Economic Policy Research, October 2016. Pages 81-97. eBook
  • “STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities” (with Giovanni Peri and Kevin Shih), Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 33 (No. S1, US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy): S225-S255, July 2015. (Published PaperWorking Paper 2013)
  • “In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants and its Impact on College Enrollment, Tuition Costs, Student Financial Aid, and Indebtedness” (with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes), Regional Studies and Urban Economics, Vol. 49: 11-24, November 2014. (Published PaperWorking Paper 2012)
  • “Foreign Scientists and Engineers and Economic Growth” (with Giovanni Peri and Kevin Shih), Cato Papers on Public Policy, Vol. 3: 107-184, 2014. (Published Paper)
  • “Migration Theory” (with Örn B. Bodvarsson and Nicole Simpson) in Handbook on the Economics of International Migration, Barry Chiswick and Paul Miller, eds., Amsterdam: North Holland (Elsevier), 2015. Pages 3-51. ISBN-13: 978-0-444-53764-5
  • “Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Less-Educated Immigration Flows into U.S. States” (with Nicole Simpson), Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 80 (2): 414-438, October 2013. (Published Paper; Working Paper)
  • “Quotas and Quality: The Effect of H-1B Visa Restrictions on the Pool of Prospective Undergraduate Students from Abroad” (with Takao Kato), Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 95 (1): 109-126, March 2013. (Published Paper)
  • “Highly-Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice” (with Giovanni Peri), Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 50 (3): 385-411, July 2011. (Published Paper; Working Paper 2010)
  • “Assessing Inherent Model Bias: An Application to Native Displacement in Response to Immigration” (with Giovanni Peri), Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 69 (1): 82-91, January 2011. (Published Paper; Working Paper)
  • “Racial Diversity and Macroeconomic Productivity across U.S. States and Cities,” Regional Studies, Vol. 44 (1): 71-85, February 2010. (Published Paper; Working Paper)
  • “Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages” (with Giovanni Peri), American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Vol. 1 (3): 135-169, July 2009. (Published Paper) [Earlier Version Title: “Task Specialization, Comparative Advantages, and the Effects of Immigration on Wages”. (Working Paper)]
  • “Racial Diversity and Aggregate Productivity in US Industries: 1980-2000,” Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 75 (3): 829-856, January 2009. (Published PaperWorking Paper) [Earlier Version Title: “Racial Diversity and Economic Productivity - Industry Level Evidence”]
  • “A Theory of Racial Diversity, Segregation, and Productivity,” Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 87 (2): 210-226, October 2008. (Published Paper; Working Paper)

Working Papers

Public Scholarship

Policy Briefings, Testimony, and Presentations

Television Appearances

  • Panelist, The Ivory Tower, WCNY Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Member Television Station, Syracuse, New York. June 2021 – Present

Selected News, Blog, and Policy Citations

  • Forbes (2023): H-1B restrictions push jobs overseas.
  • Forbes (2023): H-1B workers and recessions.
  • Time (2022): Quotes about the H-1B program and ways it can be changed.
  • Forbes (2022): The H-1B Lottery as bad immigration law.
  • Forbes (2021): Potential Changes to the H-1B program in 2021.
  • Forbes (2021): Harming the economy by reducing immigration.
  • Forbes (2021): On vacancies in computer-related occupations.
  • Forbes (2021): Policy-maker attempts to end the H-1B program.
  • Axios (2020): Immigration is not a zero sum game.
  • Forbes (2020): Concerns about H-1B restrictions.
  • Yahoo Finance and Forbes (2019): Evidence on H-1B and jobs.
  • Forbes (2018): Evidence on H-1B and productivity.
  • Reuters (2018): A quote about research on refugees.
  • Christian Science Monitor (2018): A quote on H-1B workers and team-building.
  • Forbes (2018): H-1Bs exhausted again.
  • Bloomberg (2018): On cuts to the H-1B program.
  • Forbes (2017): The diversity visa lottery.
  • New York Times (2017): On the importance of low-skilled immigrants.
  • NPR Marketplace (2017): Three economists' reactions to the Cotton-Perdue RAISE Act.
  • HuffPost (2017): A call for skill-based immigration reform.
  • Bloomberg (2017): A comment about robots taking Americans' jobs.
  • The Conversation (2017): Op-ed written by my coauthor, Kevin Shih.
  • Harvard Business School and Cato (2017): Op-eds citing benefits of immigration.
  • Washington Post Wonkblog (2016): H-1B and job creation.
  • Fox Business (2016): On illegal immigration.
  • Daily Caller (2016) and The Conversation (2016): An article about how immigrants fuel economic growth.
  • PolitiFact (2016): Fact-checking Hillary Clinton.
  • Cato Institute (2015): Our research cited in criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D).
  • Cato Institute (2015): Our research cited in criticism of Sen. Jefferson Sessions (R).
  • The Federalist and BloombergView (2015): Our research cited in criticism of Gov. Scott Walker (R).
  • Newsweek (2015): An opinion page entry by Tim Kane arguing that "one can oppose the Obama administration’s executive actions... and still favor more legal immigration."
  • NY Times Opinion Pages (2015): Immigrants and efficient labor allocation.
  • Council of Economic Advisers (2014): A document outlining the economic rationale for President Obama's executive action on immigration.
  • PBS Newshour, Making Sen$e (2014): A brief summary of the summary in the NBER Digest
  • NBER Digest (2014): Technical summary of our STEM immigration work.
  • Wall Street Journal and WSJ Real Time Economics Blog (2014): STEM immigrants and native wage and employment growth.
  • The Daily Caller and Vox (2014): Foreign STEM workers and US productivity growth.
  • Washington Post Innovations (2013): I take no position on the article's title, "We Don't Need More Humanities Majors," but I appreciate the citation about the importance of foreign STEM workers.
  • New York Times Blog (2013): Comprehensive immigration reform and the effects of less-educated immigrants.
  • Washington Post Wonkblog and The Daily Caller (2013): Skill specialization of less-educated workers and controversial comments by a Marco Rubio aide.
  • The Times of India (Article 1, Article 2) and ZD Net (2013): H-1B benefits from an Indian media perspective.
  • Forbes (2013): Arguments supporting expansion of the  H-1B program (a favorable citation).
  • The Atlantic (2013): Arguments against expansion of the H-1B program (a less-than-favorable citation).
  • Wall Street Journal (2013): An op-ed piece about highly educated immigrants' contributions to U.S. productivity.
  • New York Times (2012): An article arguing that immigration has not responsible for declines in the U.S. standard of living.
  • New York Times Blog (2012): A lengthier discussion of immigration and jobs.
  • Cato Institute (2012): A policy piece using my co-authored research as evidence that the U.S. should not restrict immigration.
  • Colgate (2011): Video on the effects of H-1B policy on university education.
  • Federal Reserve (2010): A brief summary of immigration’s effect on the U.S. labor market.
  • Daily Kos (2008): A blog that calls my co-authored work “typical neoclassical pig manure… by bloviating nimrod economist(s).”
  • Milken Institute (2007): More evidence on the gains from immigration.
  • Newsweek (2007): Fareed Zakaria’s take on our research.
  • Puget Sound Business Journal (2001): A piece of urban economics from my first job after college.
  • Kitsap Sun (1999): My undergraduate contribution to urban economics.
  • Bremerton Sun (1989): My first public opinion on an economic issue has changed since age 12.