Publications, papers, and related articles and media

Highlights of some major reports released to date:


"What Shortages? The Real Evidence About the STEM Workforce" (2013) Issues in Science and Technology. Summer. Hal Salzman

"Current and proposed high-skilled guestworker policies discourage STEM students and grads from entering IT" (2013) Economic Policy Institute. Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell.


“Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand” (Lowell & Salzman)
This report addresses the perception that there has been a long-term decline of high-quality students from the beginning to the end of the S&E pipeline. However, our review of the data fails to find support for those presumptions. Rather, the available data indicate increases in the absolute numbers of secondary school graduates and increases in their math and science performance levels. Domestic and international trends suggest that U.S. schools show steady improvement in math and science, the United States is not at any particular disadvantage in comparison to most other nations, and the supply of S&E-qualified graduates is large and ranks among the best internationally. Further, there has been growth in the number of undergraduates completing S&E studies and the number of S&E graduates remains high by historical standards. Why, then, is there a purported failure to meet the demand for S&E college students and S&E workers? Analysis of the S&E pipeline when it reaches the labor market suggests that the education system produces qualified graduates in excess of apparent demand. So while improving average math and science education at the K–12 level may be warranted for other reasons, such a strategy may not be the most efficient means of supplying the S&E workforce.


Guestworkers in the High-Skill U.S. Labor Market: An Analysis of Supply, Employment, and Wage Trends (Salzman, Kuehn, & Lowell)

April 24, 2013. This paper reviews and analyzes the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) labor market and workforce and the supply of high-skill temporary foreign workers, who serve as “guestworkers.” It addresses three central issues in the ongoing discussion about the need for high-skill guestworkers in the United States:


"Steady as She Goes? Three Generations of Students through the Science and Engineering Pipeline" (Lowell & Salzman)
In this paper, we explore three major questions: (1) what is the “flow” or retention rate of STEM students along the high school to career pathway? (2) How does this flow and this retention rate change from earlier cohorts to current cohorts? (3) What are the changes in quality of STEM students who persist through the STEM pathway? A fairly demanding analysis coordinated the evaluation of six longitudinal datasets for trends from the early 1970s through the early part of the last decade. Transitions were tracked for students from high school through to STEM college degree, from college to first job, and thereafter to mid-career occupation. Our findings indicate that STEM retention along the pipeline shows strong and even increasing rates of retention from the 1970s to the late 1990s. The overall trend of increasingly strong STEM retention rates, however, is accompanied by simultaneous and sometimes sharp declines in retention among the highest performing students in the 1990s. Our analysis strongly suggests that students are not leaving STEM pathways because of lack of preparation or ability. Instead, it suggests that factors other than educational preparation or student ability are responsible for this compositional shift to lower-performing students in the STEM pipeline.


“What’s really needed for global competitiveness(Salzman & Lynn)
Engineering and Engineering Skills
This project focuses on the “supply side” factors that allegedly threaten U.S. economic competitiveness. We examine the number of engineering students and graduates at various levels, and how well this supply of human resources matches what employers are seeking. We do find that there is some degree of mismatch, largely because of structural changes both in firms and in engineering work. This occurs at both the micro level (how engineering is practiced and the nature of technology development) and at the macro level (how firms are organizing their technology work globally and the labor force factors that affect the supply of engineers graduating from our universities). However, we find no evidence that deficits in the basic science and math education and the technical knowledge of U.S. students is leading to a shortage of highly qualified U.S. engineering students.


"Dynamics of Engineering Labor Markets: Petroleum Engineering and Responsive Supply" (Salzman, Lynn, & Kuehn)
Petroleum Engineers
Engineering shortage claims are based on a number of assumptions that we are able to examine empirically through a “natural experiment” in the case of petroleum engineers. The assumptions are that demand outpaces supply; the increasing offshore supply of scientists and engineers constitutes a “competition” with the U.S.; the size of the stock of engineers drives innovation (which, in turn, drives economic growth and social prosperity); and supply will depend on (a) stimulating interest and achievement of domestic students, and (b) increasing foreign supply/guest workers. In this paper, we examine the common policy assumptions that: (1) the supply of engineers in other countries is a “threat” to U.S. innovation and competitiveness, (2) that labor markets do not function adequately to produce the requisite supply of engineers to meet industry demand, and (3) that guest workers/students are necessary to meet U.S. employer needs for their permanent workforces. Through this study of petroleum engineering, we examine the responsiveness of the educational engineer market.


Global Talent Arbitrage (Salzman & Lynn)
(paper in revision)
The global distribution of science and engineering (S&E) work is proceeding apace yet the causes and consequences, though widely debated, are not well understood. At the core of the debate is the question of whether globalization of S&E is a search for talent that is scarce and globally distributed or whether S&E work and workforce are being globally dispersed to take advantage of cost differentials. As with all such questions, the answer has complexities and contingencies that derive from the evolution/path of the phenomenon. In this case, the underlying issue is whether globalization of S&E work is antecedent or consequence of globally distributed S&E workforce/talent and the factors and process driving its global dispersion. Understanding the phenomenon is of particular importance for an analysis of policy, to understand the role of policy in shaping the landscape of S&E globalization and policy directions to pursue.


Academic Papers and Publications


The articles, research reports, policy briefs, and papers have been cited widely in academic/research and policy discussions, and popular media. These studies contribute significantly to the research and policy discussions about S&E student performance, S&E education pipeline, and S&E workforce supply. We have been invited to present this work to two Congressional Committee hearings, the current National Research Council STEM Committee (on Department of Defense STEM shortages), and to a wide range of media, from NPR’s Science Friday (Lowell and Salzman have appeared on two different shows) and Marketplace, to articles in The Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, Business Week, The New York Times, Science, Education Week, and many more.


Making the Grade,” Nature, 453(1): 28-30, 2008 (Salzman & Lowell).


Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education,
Quality, and Workforce Demand
,” Research Report, Urban Institute, 2007 (Lowell & Salzman).


Steady as She Goes? Three Generations of Students through the Science and Engineering
,” Rutgers University and Georgetown University, 2009 (Lowell, Salzman, Bernstein, & and Henderson).


“How “Leaky” is the Pipeline? Career Attrition Among Scientists and Engineers:  Comparing Demographic Groups and  Fields of Education, 1993 and 2003” (in revision) (Lowell, Salzman, & Bernstein).


The Globalization of Technology Development: Implications for U.S. Skills Policy (2010)
In Transforming The U.S. Workforce Development System: Lessons from Research and Practice (Finegold, Gatta, Salzman, & Schurman, eds.). Cornell University/ ILR Press. (Lynn & Salzman).


 This book chapter was also presented at the APPAM conference (and also draws on research partially supported by NSF grant): Engineering and Engineering Skills: What’s Really Needed for Global Competitiveness (2010)
Paper Presented at: Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Annual Meeting
November 4, 2010 Boston, MA. (Salzman & Lynn).


Other Related Papers

(these are papers that also draw on research partially supported by other grants)


Globalization Shifts in Human Capital and Innovation: Policy for Collaborative Advantage & Implications for EducationOctober, 2007 Paper prepared for: Carnegie-Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) Commission on Mathematics and Science Education (Salzman).


“Immigration and American Competitiveness: U.S. Immigration Policy in the 21st Century,” pages 131-152 in Bhagwati and Hanson (eds.), Immigration Today: Prospects,
Problems, and Policies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 (Lowell, Martin, & Micah Bump).


Federal Immigration Policies and the Movement of Chinese and Indian Knowledge Workers to and from the United States,” pages 89-106 in Tambar (ed.) Movement of Global Talent: The Impact of High Skill Labor Flows from India and China, Policy Research Institute for the Region: Princeton University, 2007 (Lowell).


Trends in Immigration and Human Capital,” Conference Board, Economics Program Working Paper Series (EPWP #08 – 09), 2007 (Lowell).


Policy Papers, Commentaries


Science and Technology Pipeline (2011) Salzman & Lowell in Chronicle of
Higher Education, August 4, 2011


No Shortage of Qualified American STEM Grads (June 2012) Salzman U.S. News


New York Times column,Room for Debate — “More Education Isn’t the Answer” September 14, 2010


"Will Science and Engineering Now Be a Good Career?" Commentary (2009) Education Week (Lowell & Salzman) November 11, 2009


 "Does the U.S. Need More Engineers?" (2011) Manufacturing News October 31, 2011 Volume 18, No. 17 (Salzman & Lynn)


How Many Engineers Does it Take to Change a Policy? PE: The Magazine for Professional Engineers, March, page 8, 2008 (Salzman & Lowell).


Congressional Testimony


Globalization of R&D and Innovation: Implications for U.S. STEM Workforce and Policy: Testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation Statement submitted to the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation of the Committee on Science and Technology U.S. House of Representatives, 2008 (Salzman).


“Immigration and the Science & Engineering Workforce: Failing Pipelines, Restrictive Visas, and the ‘Best and Brightest’” Testimony for "STEM the Tide: Should America Try to Prevent an Exodus of Foreign Graduates of U.S. Universities with Advanced Science Degrees?" the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C., October 2011.


Paper Presentations At Expert And Policy Forums


“The Consequences of the First Brain Drain in U.S. History” (2011) Milken Institute Global
Conference, May 1–4, 2011, Los Angeles, CA (Invited panel presentation: Salzman)

Limitations to Meeting Workforce Needs of DoD and the Industrial Base

National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council, Study of Science
Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) workforce needs for the U.S. Department of
Defense (DoD) and the Defense Industrial Base, Introductory Presentation. August 1, 2011; published in Report of a Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base


“Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education,
Quality, and Workforce Demand”

Paper presented at:


“Panel Discussion of Skill Supply and Demand: Immigrants,” Presentation to the Workshop on Research Evidence Related to Future Skill Demands, National Academies of Science,
Washington, D.C., June 2007 (Lowell).


“Globalization Shifts in Human Capital and Innovation: Policy for Collaborative Advantage & Implications for Education,” Paper presented to: Carnegie-IAS Commission on Mathematics and Science Education New York, NY November 8, 2007 (Salzman).


“Trends in Immigration and Human Capital,” Workshop for the Innovation and
Competitiveness Project, the Conference Board, New York City, February 2007 (Lowell).


“Foreign Skilled Workers and U.S. Competitiveness,” Presentation to a panel for the American Chemical Society and its Congress Project, TechNet, Russell Senate Building, Washington D.C., May 2007 (Lowell).


“Demand for STEM Workers and the Supply Pipeline,” Presentation at the Roundtable Series on Technology, Innovation, and American Primacy and the High-Level Roundtable Series on American Competitiveness, Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, November 2007 (Lowell).


STEM Education & America’s Future,” Panelist on National Public Radio’s Science Friday,
Washington, D.C., March 2012 (Lowell).


Are We Getting ‘Enough’ STEM Migrants? Pipelines, Shortages & the Best and the Brightest,Presentation to “Labor Immigration: Good or Bad for America,” Cornell University, Ithaca, September 2011 (Lowell).


Globalization and Selecting the Best and the Brightest Immigrants,” Presentation to
“Immigration Policy: Highly Skilled Workers and U.S. Competitiveness and Innovation,”
Brookings Institute, Washington D.C., February 2011 (Lowell).


Career Outcomes for STEM Degree Recipients,” Presentation to “The Role and Status of the
Master’s Degree in STEM,” the National Science Foundation, Arlington, May 2010 (Lowell).


Presentations at Professional Meetings


“Global Talent Arbitrage” (2012). Paper presented at the Labor and Employment Relations Association meetings. January. Chicago, IL. (Salzman).


“Three Decades of the Science and Engineering Pipeline: Tracking High School Students
through Mid-Career,”
Presentation to meetings of the Association for Public Policy
Analysis and Management, Washington D.C., November 2009 (Salzman, Lowell, & Bernstein).


“Petroleum Engineering: A Case of Supply and Market Demand” (2011). Industry Studies Association Conference, Pittsburgh, PA. June. (Salzman).


“Third Generation Globalization: The Transformation of Science and Engineering, and
International Migration,”
Presentation to the Society of Government Economists, Washington,
D.C., June 2008 (Lowell, Lynn, & Salzman).


“Immigration Policy and the International Supply and Demand for STEM Workers,”
Presentation at the conference “Can We Compete? Trends in America’s Scientific and Technical
Workforce,” hosted by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology,
Washington, D.C., November 2007 (Lowell).


“Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on S&E Workforce Quality and Demand,” Paper presented at the meetings of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Madison, November 2006 (Salzman & Lowell).


Selected Media Coverage

Grant-related Media Clips (Selected)


"The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower US Wages" PBS Newshour "The Rundown" online July 24, 2013 Salzman, Hal; Lindsay Lowell, Daniel Kuehn


"What ‘Stapling a Green Card’ Portends for STEM," Science Careers, April 5, 2013 (Benderly).


"What Scientist Shortage? The Johnny-can’t-do-science myth damages US research," Columbia Journalism Review, January 17, 2012 (Benderly).


"No Pain, No Gain," The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2012 (Silverman & Light).


"Petroleum Engineering Shows U.S. Students’ Hidden Prowess," Pacific Standard, April 20, 2011 (Benderly).


Miller-McCune (Pacific Standard Magazine)
The Real Science Gap
June 14, 2010
By Beryl Benderly


Business Week
Study: No Shortage of U.S. Engineers
October 28, 2009
By Moira Herbst


Science Magazine
New Analysis Questions Push for More Degrees
November 16, 2007
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee


Science Insider
Study Suggests U.S. Could Use Fewer, Not More Science Students
28 October 2009
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee


Chronicle of Higher Education
Might Companies, Not Colleges, Deserve the Blame for a Shortage of Engineers?
October 27, 2009
By Paul Basken


The Economist
Trying Harder
March 31, 2010


Education Week
The Global Challenge: Education in a Competitive World
January 12, 2012


BusinessWeek online
Viewpoint: The Science Education Myth
Forget the conventional wisdom. U.S. schools are turning out more capable science and engineering grads than the job market can support
October 26, 2007
By Vivek Wadhwa


Education Week
U.S. Math, Science Skills Exceed Broad Perception
November 6, 2007 online, November 7, 2007 in print
By Sean Cavanagh


Wall Street Journal
Generation Jobless: Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay
November 9, 2011
By Joe Light and Rachel Emma Silverman


CIO magazine
The Next Wave of Globalisation: Offshoring R&D to India and China
The grass is green. It depends on how you look at it
November 6, 2007
By Stephanie Overby (Electronic Engineering Times)
Study Questions U.S. Shortfall in Math, Science
November 6, 2007
By Sheila Riley


The Chronicle of Higher Education
In Congressional Testimony, Researchers Dispute Notion That America Lacks Scientists and Engineers
November 7, 2007
By Richard Monastersky


Talk of the Nation: Science Friday
How the U.S. Measures Up in Math and Science
November 9, 2007


The Wall Street Journal, The Numbers Guy
Whose Fourth-Graders Are Smartest?
October 31, 2007
By Carl Bialik


EE Times (Electronic Engineering Times)
Prosperity 101: Education Equity (commentary)
November 12, 2007
By George Leopold


EE Times (Electronic Engineering Times)
Engineering Education Study Draws Industry Fire
November 13, 2007
By George Leopold


Seattle Times-online
Study Finds No Shortage of Science, Engineering Talent
November 19, 2007
By Benjamin J. Romano
Let’s Have a Presidential Debate on Science; Can Any of the Candidates Lead America Back to the Head of the Class in Science and Technology?
December 13, 2007
By Shawn Lawrence Otto


Education Week
Poverty’s Effect on U.S. Scores Greater Than for Other Nations
December 12, 2007
By Sean Cavanagh


Big Oil’s Talent Hunt: Business is Booming, but the Workforce is Graying. that has Oil Companies Seeking Help in Unusual Places
December 13, 2007
By Moira Herbst


ScienceCareers Magazine
Rising Above “The Gathering Storm”
December 14, 2007
By Beryl Lieff Benderly


Financial Times
Letter: Bloomberg Mistaken in Suggesting US Students Lag Behind in Sciences
December 14, 2007
By John Reinhart


Information Week
Opinion: No, The Tech Skills Shortage Doesn't Exist; Employers Game the System and Misrepresent the Key Market Indicators
January 12, 2008
By Ron Hira


Science Education and Workforce Development
National Science Foundation Workshop

Key Challenges for Innovation in the States
January 15 - 16, 2008
(Panel “Critical Role of Industry in Science Education and Workforce Development” discussing the paper)


The Vindicator (Youngstown, Ohio)
Opinion: Claims that U.S. Future Depends on Immigrants Puts ‘Con’ in Silicon Valley
January 15, 2008
By Rob Sanchez


Software Group Says that without More Foreign Workers in U.S., Jobs May Go Overseas
January 24, 2008
By Patrick Thibodeau


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tech Firms Invent Shortage Panic
November 9, 2009
By Walt Gardner


The Real Science Gap
June 14, 2010
By Beryl Benderly


Changing Gears Michigan Public Radio
Do We Need More Engineers?
April 19, 2012
By Dan Bobkoff

Interview on Innovation Hub, WGBH Radio
The American Talent Pool, Revisited
July 10, 2012
by Kara Miller