AnnaLee Saxenian is professor and dean of the School of Information and a professor of city and regional planning.
She is recognized for her research in regional economics and the conditions under which people, ideas and geographies combine and connect into hubs of economic activity. Saxenian has written extensively about the information technology industry and economics extending from California’s Silicon Valley and Boston to China and India, foreign workers and the H-1B non-immigrant visa in the United States, and foreign students in the U.S.
Her book The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy (2006) explores how and why immigrant engineers from Silicon Valley are transferring their technology entrepreneurship to emerging regions in their own home countries — particularly Taiwan, Israel, China and India– and launching companies far from the established centers of skill and technology. This "brain drain," Saxenian argues, has become "brain circulation" and a powerful economic force for the development of formerly peripheral regions that is sparking profound transformations in the global economy.
She is also author of Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (1994), the definitive account of the greater innovative dynamism of Silicon Valley relative to its East coast counterpart. Saxenian grew up and studied in Massachusetts, and still loves the area, even if her book criticized its hierarchies.