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The Returns to the Brain Drain and Brain Circulation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Some Computations Using Data from Ghana

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  • Yaw Nyarko

Abstract

We look at the decision of the government or "central planner" in the allocation of scarce governmental resources for tertiary education, as well as that for the individual. We provide estimates of the net present values, or cost and benefits. These include costs of tertiary education; the benefits of improved skills of those who remain in the country; and also takes into account the flows of the skilled out of the country (the brain drain) as well as the remittances they bring into the country. Our results are positive for the net benefits relative to costs. Our results suggest that (i) there may be room for creative thinking about the possibility that the brain drain could provide mechanisms for dramatic increases in education levels within African nations; and (ii) by at least one metric, spending by African nations on higher education in this period yielded positive returns on the investment. Our results on the individual decision problem resolve a paradox in the returns to education literature which finds low returns to tertiary education.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16813.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: Forthcoming: The Returns to the Brain Drain and Brain Circulation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Some Computations Using Data from Ghana , Yaw Nyarko. in African Successes: Human Capital , Edwards, Johnson, and Weil. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16813

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  1. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  2. Niimi, Yoko & Ozden, Caglar & Schiff, Maurice, 2008. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Skilled Migrants Do Remit Less," IZA Discussion Papers 3393, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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).
  4. Naufal, George S, 2007. "Who Remits? The Case of Nicaragua," IZA Discussion Papers 3081, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Riccardo Faini, 2007. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Do More Skilled Migrants Remit More?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 177-191, May.
  6. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Satish Chand & Michael A. Clemens, 2008. "Skilled emigration and skill creation: A quasi-experiment," International and Development Economics Working Papers idec08-05, International and Development Economics.
  8. Philippe De Vreyer & Flore Gubert & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2009. "Return Migrants in Western Africa: Characteristics and Labour Market Performance," Working Papers DT/2009/06, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  9. 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.
  10. Docquier, Frédéric & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Skilled Migration: The Perspective of Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2873, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of "Brain Drain" of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 5124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. Michael Clemens, 2007. "Do Visas Kill? Health Effects of African Health Professional Emigration," Working Papers 114, Center for Global Development.
  14. Freund, Caroline & Spatafora, Nikola, 2008. "Remittances, transaction costs, and informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 356-366, June.
  15. Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0702, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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Cited by:
  1. Batista, Catia & McIndoe Calder, Tara & Vicente, Pedro C., 2014. "Return Migration, Self-Selection and Entrepreneurship in Mozambique," IZA Discussion Papers 8195, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Oloufade, Djoulassi K. & Pongou, Roland, 2012. "Dual Citizenship Institution: A Pareto Improvement?," MPRA Paper 40705, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2012.

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