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Brain Drain and Brain Return: Theory and Application to Eastern-Western Europe

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Abstract

Recent empirical evidence seems to show that temporary migration is a widespread phenomenon, espe- cially among highly skilled workers who return to their countries of origin when these begin to grow. This paper develops a simple, tractable overlapping generations model that provides a rationale for return migra- tion and predicts who will migrate and who returns among agents with heterogeneous abilities. The model also incorporates the interaction between the migration decision and schooling: the possibility of migrating, albeit temporarily, to a country with high returns to skills produces positive schooling incentive effects. We use parameter values from the literature and data on return migration to simulate the model for the Eastern-Western European case. We then quantify the effects that increased openness (to migrants) would have on human capital and wages in Eastern Europe. We find that, for plausible values of the parameters, the possibility of return migration combined with the education incentive channel reverses the brain drain into a significant brain gain for Eastern Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2009-19.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2009_19

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Postal: NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State, c/o Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz
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Keywords: Skilled Migration; Return Migration; Returns to Education; Eastern-Western Europe;

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  1. Iranzo, Susana & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "Migration and trade: Theory with an application to the Eastern-Western European integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-19, September.
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  3. Stark, Oded & Wang, Yong, 2001. "Inducing Human Capital Formation: Migration as a Substitute for Subsidies," Economics Series 100, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
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  8. Alan Barrett & Philip J. O’Connell, 2001. "Is There a Wage Premium for Returning Irish Migrants?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 1-21.
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  13. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  14. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "The Theory of 'Screening', Education, and the Distribution of Income," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 354, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence from the UK," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(2), pages 236-256, 06.
  16. Sebastian Gundel & Heiko Peters, 2008. "What Determines the Duration of Stay of Immigrants in Germany?: Evidence from a Longitudinal Duration Analysis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 79, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  17. Schiff, Maurice, 2005. "Brain gain : claims about its size and impact on welfare and growth are greatly exaggerated," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3708, The World Bank.
  18. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10449, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  20. Simon Commander & Rupa Chanda & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "The Consequences of Globalisation: India's Software Industry and Cross-border Labour Mobility -super-1 ," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 187-211, 02.
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