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Lee Ohanian on the Importance of Immigration


Published December 3, 2020

The United States has attracted some of the most creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial talent from all around the world. Immigration allows us to sustain economic growth in America with a constant inflow of new ideas. We have benefited from immigrants who have been willing to take risks and to implement ideas in a competitive marketplace.

This video’s audio is excerpted from an episode of the Uncommon Knowledge web series, published by the Hoover Institution.

Additional Resources:

  • Watch the Uncommon Knowledge podcast episode “Why Here? Why Now? Why Did the United States Enjoy Dramatic Improvements in the Standard of Living During the Last Century?” with John Cogan, Lee Ohanian, Terry Anderson, and George Shultz. Available here.
  • Watch “Enhancing Economic Growth Through Immigration,” with Edward Lazear via PolicyEd. Available here.
  • Watch “Economic Growth and Immigration,” with Edward Lazear via PolicyEd. Available here.
View Transcript


We have been fortunate enough to attract some of the most creative and innovative talent from all around the world- talent that’s also been entrepreneurial. 

To sustain the economy of growth we need to have constant inflow of new ideas and people who are willing to take the risk to try and implement those ideas in a competitive marketplace. 

We can point to people such as Andy Grove who helped start Intel here in the valley, 

Stanford’s own Sergey Brin, who co-founded Google, who came from the Soviet Union. 

And Elon Musk who immigrated here from South Africa. 

I think there’s a reason why these enormously talented people came to the United States, because this is the place to be, where you can make ideas become, not just reality, but a remarkably big and important reality.