Thursday, October 30, 2008

Startup Cleveburgh: Policy Debate

Cleveland immigration attorney Richard Herman takes exception to Dr. Scott Shane's policy recommendations to promote entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio:

In his book, illusions of entrpreneurship, published jan 7, 2008, Dr. Shane dismisses as a "myth" the proposition that immigrants are big entrepreneurial performers in the U.S. The new report for the [Fund for Our Economic Future] contains similar language.

This and similar contrarian views may sell books, and may be used to justify policy positions that are being questioned, but they are not supported by the weight of the nation's leading researchers and economists.

Building a tech-rich, prosperous, job-creating, globally-connected economy in Northeast Ohio will not happen without policies that prioritize the inclusion for immigrant talent, entrepreneurship and capital.

Richard levies this criticism in the context of the Fund for Our Economic Future failing to support initiatives designed to attract more immigrants to the region. I didn't see the policy recommendation in the same light Richard does, but I didn't know about Dr. Shane's book. Even if Dr. Shane does assert that immigrants aren't the regional drivers of entrepreneurship that others claim is indeed the case, I read the report as cautioning against the costs of attracting more immigrants to Northeast Ohio.

Is there some anti-immigrant bias in play? That's difficult for me to discern, but I have begun to appreciate the costs involved in starting an EB-5 visa program. I'll dig deeper into the GAO report about the under-utilization of this option and see if there is any benefit analysis. However, I don't think anyone is claiming that more immigration wouldn't be a good thing. The rub is the amount of resources needed to achieve that end.

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