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On the Robustness of Brain Gain Estimates

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  • Michel Beine
  • Frédéric Docquier
  • Hillel Rapoport

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "On the Robustness of Brain Gain Estimates," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 143-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2010:i:97-98:p:143-165
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 209-223.
    2. Cécily Defoort & Carine Drapier, 2012. "Immigration and its dependence on the welfare system: the case of France," Working Papers hal-00995293, HAL.
    3. Antwi, James & Phillips, David C., 2013. "Wages and health worker retention: Evidence from public sector wage reforms in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 101-115.
    4. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 681-730.
    5. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 209-223.
    6. Berlinschi, Ruxanda & Schokkaert, Jeroen & Swinnen, Johan, 2013. "When drains and gains coincide: Migration and international football performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-14.
    7. Kugler, Adriana & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2008. "Effects of Low-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Natives: Evidence from Hurricane Mitch," IZA Discussion Papers 3670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 209-223.
    9. Chiara Falco, 2015. "Education and migration: empirical evidence from Ecuador," Working Papers 297, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2015.
    10. Driouchi, Ahmed & Kadiri, Molk, 2010. "Emigration of Skilled Labor under Risk Aversion: The Case of Medical Doctors from Middle Eastern and North African Economies," MPRA Paper 22810, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 20 May 2010.
    11. Slobodan Djajic & Michael S. Michael, 2014. "International Migration of Skilled Workers with Endogenous Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4748, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 209-223.
    13. Mountford, Andrew & Rapoport, Hillel, 2011. "The brain drain and the world distribution of income," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 4-17.
    14. Zhang, Yi & Matz, Julia Anna, 2017. "On the train to brain gain in rural China," Discussion Papers 252443, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    15. Ahmed, S. Amer & Go,Delfin Sia & Willenbockel,Dirk Andreas, 2016. "Global migration revisited : short-term pains, long-term gains, and the potential of south-south migration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7628, The World Bank.
    16. repec:uwp:jhriss:v:52:y:2017:i:3:p:859-885 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Shyam Gouri Suresh, 2015. "The Aggregate and Distributional Effects of Migration Policies: A Multifaceted Analysis," Working Papers 15-01, Davidson College, Department of Economics.
    18. Yao Pan, 2017. "The Impact of Removing Selective Migration Restrictions on Education: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(3), pages 859-885.
    19. Calvin Z. Djiofack & Eric W. Djimeu & Matthieu Boussichas, 2014. "Editor's choice Impact of Qualified Worker Emigration on Poverty: A Macro–Micro-Simulation Approach for an African Economy," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 23(1), pages 1-52.

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    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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