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The microeconomic determinants of emigration and return migration of the best and brightest : evidence from the Pacific

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  • Gibson, John
  • McKenzie, David

Abstract

A unique survey which tracks worldwide the best and brightest academic performers from three Pacific countries is used to assess the extent of emigration and return migration among the very highly skilled, and to analyze, at the microeconomic level, the determinants of these migration choices. Although the estimates indicate that the income gains from migration are very large, not everyone migrates and many return. Within this group of highly skilled individuals, the emigration decision is found to be most strongly associated with preference variables such as risk aversion, patience, and choice of subjects in secondary school, and not strongly linked to either liquidity constraints or the gain in income to be had from migrating. Likewise, the decision to return is strongly linked to family and lifestyle reasons, rather than to the income opportunities in different countries. Overall the data show a relatively limited role for income maximization in distinguishing migration propensities among the very highly skilled, and point to the need to pay more attention to other components of the utility maximization decision.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4965.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4965

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Keywords: Tertiary Education; Population Policies; Secondary Education; Human Migrations&Resettlements;

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References

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  1. Jaeger, David A. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Bonin, Holger, 2010. "Direct evidence on risk attitudes and migration," Munich Reprints in Economics 19528, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
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  4. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Schiff, Maurice, 2008. "Brain Drain and its Determinants: A Major Issue for Small States," IZA Discussion Papers 3398, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Dean Yang, 2006. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 715-735, November.
  6. 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.
  7. Michéle V.K. Belot & Timothy J. Hatton, 2008. "Immigrant Selection in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 571, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  8. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Measuring International Skilled Migration: A New Database Controlling for Age of Entry," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 249-254, June.
  11. Simon Commander & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature," NBER Chapters, in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 235-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Brain drain and brain backflow: nothing to do with economic factors
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-06-23 08:05:00
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