This deeply personal book tells the untold story of the significant contributions of technical professionals from the former Soviet Union to the US innovation economy, particularly in the sectors of software, social media, biotechnology, and medicine. Drawing upon in-depth interviews, it channels the voices and stories of more than 150 professionals who emigrated from 11 of the 15 former Soviet republics between the 1970s and 2015, and who currently work in the innovation hubs of Silicon Valley and Boston/Cambridge. Using the social science theories of institutions, imprinting, and identity, the authors analyze the political, social, economic, and educational forces that have characterized Soviet immigration over the past 40 years, showing how the particularities of the Soviet context may have benefited or challenged interviewees' work and social lives. The resulting mosaic of perspectives provides valuable insight into the impact of immigration on US economic development, specifically in high technology and innovation.
Hammer and Silicon: The Soviet Diaspora in the US Innovation Economy - Immigration, Innovation, Institutions, Imprinting, and Identity
Introduction; 1. Theoretical foundations: institutions, imprinting, and identity; 2. Soviet political, economic, and social institutions: catalysts for migration; 3. Soviet educational institutions: capability for contribution; 4. Migration from the Former Soviet Union to the US: three waves 1972-2015; 5. Entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and innovativeness: startups in the US; 6. Research, development, and applications in academic and industry settings; 7. Cultural adaptation: challenges and sources of support; 8. Workplace adaptation: developing soft skills; 9. Identity: a constellation of influences; 10. Conclusion: the impact of institutions, identity, and imprinting on the immigration and innovation process.