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On the Robustness of Brain Gain Estimates

  • Michel BEINE
  • Frédéric DOCQUIER
  • Hillel RAPOPORT

Recent theoretical studies suggest that migration prospects can raise the expected return to human capital and thus foster education investment at home or, in other words, induce a brain gain. In a recent paper we used the DOCQUIER and MARFOUK [2006] data set on emigration rates by education level to examine the impact of brain drain migration on gross (pre-migration) human capital formation in developing countries. We found a positive effect of skilled migration prospects on human capital growth in a cross-section of 127 developing countries, with a short-run elasticity of about 5 percent. In this paper we assess the robustness of our results to the use of alternative brain drain measures, definitions of human capital, and functional forms. We find that the results hold using alternative brain drain measures controlling for whether migrants acquired their skills in the home or in the host country. We also regress other indicators of human capital investment on skilled migration rates and find a positive effect on youth literacy while the effect on school enrolment depends on the exact functional form specification chosen. Finally, we find our results to be robust to using the ratio of skilled to unskilled migration rates (instead of just the former) and to controlling for the demographic structure of the population.

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Article provided by ENSAE in its journal Annals of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): (2010)
Issue (Month): 97-98 ()
Pages: 143-165

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Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2010:i:97-98:p:07
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  1. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Ethnic Discrimination and the Migration of Skilled Labor," Working Papers 2001-19, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  2. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1995. "Stabilization Policy, Learning by Doing, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration. A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Economics Series 55, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  6. Ravi Kanbur & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Migration Selectivity and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality," Working Papers 2004-04, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  7. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Transfers, social safety nets and economic growth," Economics Working Papers 139, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  9. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  10. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, . "Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries: winners and losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10415, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2004. "Externalities and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
  13. Docquier, Frédéric & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Skilled Migration: The Perspective of Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2873, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Abigail Barr, 1995. "The missing factor: entrepreneurial networks, enterprises and economic growth in Ghana," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1995-11, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  16. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  17. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hillel RAPOPORT, 2003. "Endogenous discrimination, migration prospects and the protection of ethnic minorities," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 71-72, pages 79-95.
  18. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  19. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Inflation and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 1999. "Fuite des cerveaux et formation de capital humain," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 79, pages 63-72.
  21. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  22. Faini, Riccardo, 2003. "Is the Brain Drain an Unmitigated Blessing?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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