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The International Migration of Knowledge Workers: When is Brain Drain Beneficial?

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  • Peter J. Kuhn
  • Carol McAusland

Abstract

We consider the welfare effects of the emigration of workers who produce a public good (knowledge). We distinguish between the knowledge diversion and knowledge creation effects of such emigration, and show that the remaining residents of a country can gain from emigration, even when tastes for knowledge goods exhibit a kind of 'home bias'. In contrast to existing models of beneficial brain drain (BBD), our results do not require agglomeration economies, education-related externalities, remittances, return migration, or an emigration 'lottery'. Instead, they are driven purely by the public nature of knowledge goods, combined with differences in market size that induce greater knowledge creation by emigrants abroad than at home. BBD is even more likely in the presence of weak sending-country intellectual property rights (IPRs), or when source country IPR policy is endogenized.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12761.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12761

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  1. Paolo Manasse & Alessandro Turrini, 1999. "Trade, Wages and ´Superstars’," Development Working Papers 127, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Wong, Kar-yiu & Yip, Chong Kee, 1999. "Education, economic growth, and brain drain," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 699-726, April.
  3. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human capital depletion, human capital formation, and migration: a blessing or a "curse"?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 363-367, September.
  4. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1990. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Grossman, Gene & Lai, Edwin, 2002. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," CEPR Discussion Papers 3118, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1975. "On the Welfare Aspects of International Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1065-72, October.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alexander Haupt & Eckhard Janeba, 2004. "Education, Redistribution, and the Threat of Brain Drain," NBER Working Papers 10618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert H. McGuckin & Robert Inklaar & Bart van Ark & Sean M. Dougherty, 2004. "The Structure of Business R&D: Recent Trends and Measurement Implications," Economics Program Working Papers 04-01, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
  10. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "Migration and Trade: Theory with an Application to the Eastern-Western European Integration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0905, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Amelie F. Constant & Bienvenue N. Tien, 2009. "Brainy Africans to Fortress Europe: For Money or Colonial Vestiges?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 965, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Alexander Haupt & Eckhard Janeba, 2009. "Education, redistribution and the threat of brain drain," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-24, February.
  4. Hunter, Rosalind S. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Charlton, Bruce G., 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 4005, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Agrawal, Ajay & Kapur, Devesh & McHale, John & Oettl, Alexander, 2011. "Brain drain or brain bank? The impact of skilled emigration on poor-country innovation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 43-55, January.
  6. Elisabetta Lodigiani, 2009. "Diaspora Externalities as a Cornerstone of the New Brain Drain Literature," Development Working Papers 277, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  7. Rosalind S Hunter, 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," Working Papers id:2048, eSocialSciences.
  8. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2007. "Migration and Trade in a World of Technological Differences: Theory with an Application to Eastern-Western European Integration," NBER Working Papers 13631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nil Demet Güngör & Aysit Tansel, 2011. "Brain Drain from Turkey: Return Intentions of Skilled Migrants," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1103, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  10. Kuhn, Peter J. & McAusland, Carol, 2008. "Consumers and the Brain Drain: Product Design and the Gains from Emigration," IZA Discussion Papers 3602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kuhn, Peter & McAusland, Carol, 2009. "Consumers and the brain drain: Product and process design and the gains from emigration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 287-291, July.

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