They get the job done

You might think the best way to supercharge American entrepreneurialism is tax incentives or business education. But in our work with the University of Illinois, we discovered the most efficient way to increase the number of start-ups: relax immigration restrictions.

After investigating the key traits of entrepreneurs, we concluded that no group ticks as many boxes as immigrants from countries that are less free to countries that are more free.

“If there were some other measure – if we knew that left-handed people were more entrepreneurial – then I would say that we should hire more left-handed people or let more left-handed people into the country,” said University of Chicago professor Pablo Montagnes, whom we consulted on the project. “But we don’t have a measure like that. The measure we do have is a desire to take a risk and move to the United States for a particular reason. …

“The U.S. is best at creating these kinds of opportunities for people. If people want these kinds of opportunities, we should be the ones who let them take advantage of them. Often the immigration debate is about illegals stealing jobs from Americans. But entrepreneurship is about creating new jobs and new things that would not exist otherwise.”