American Economic Review
Historical accounts suggest that Jewish émigrés from Nazi Germany revolutionized U.S. science. To analyze the émigrés’ effects on chemical innovation in the US we compare changes in patenting by U.S. inventors in research fields of émigrés with fields of other German chemists. Patenting by U.S. inventors increased by 31 percent in émigré fields. Regressions that instrument for émigré fields with pre-1933 fields of dismissed German chemists confirm a substantial increase in U.S. invention. Inventor-level data indicate that émigrés encouraged innovation by attracting new researchers to their fields, rather than by increasing the productivity of incumbent inventors.