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The brain drain: a review of theory and facts

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Author Info

  • Simon Commander
  • Mari Kangasniemi
  • L. Alan Winters

Abstract

Skilled migration has increased in recent years, often stimulated by the explicit use of targeted visa programmes by developed countries. This paper examines the available analytical and empirical literature on the brain drain to try and understand better whether skille migration from developing countries must always be harmful to the country of origin. We show that early generation models – mostly dating to the 1970s – found that such migration would be harmful, mostly though the impact on wages and employment, as well as through fiscal costs. A more recent literature has argued that a beneficial brain drain can arise if migration has educational externatilities. As human capital rises, growth will also be positively affected. However, we show that if screening is applied such benefits may disappear or become smaller. Recent empirical work on the health and software sectors provides some contrasting evidence.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/11913/1/ber-0281.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its journal Brussels economic review.

Volume (Year): 47 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 29-44

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Handle: RePEc:bxr:bxrceb:y:2004:v:47:i:1:p:29-44

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Related research

Keywords: skilled migration; educational externalities; growth;

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Cited by:
  1. Docquier, Frédéric & Lohest, Olivier & Marfouk, Abdeslam, 2005. "Brain Drain in Developing Regions (1990-2000)," IZA Discussion Papers 1668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Docquier, Frederic & Lowell, B. Lindsay & Marfouk, Abdeslam, 2008. "A gendered assessment of the brain drain," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4613, The World Bank.
  3. Docquier, Frederic & Marfouk, Abdeslam, 2004. "Measuring the international mobility of skilled workers (1990-2000) : release 1.0," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3381, The World Bank.
  4. Frederic, DOCQUIER & Olivier, LOHEST & Abdeslam, MARFOUK, 2007. "Brain drain in developing countries," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007004, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  5. Daniela Federici & Marilena Giannetti, 2008. "Temporary migration and foreign direct investment," Working Papers 2008-03, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  6. Ferrall, Christopher & Natalia, Mishagina, 2009. "Should I Stay or Should I Go…North? First Job Location of U.S. Trained Doctorates 1957-2005," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-33, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Jun 2009.

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