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The Elite Brain Drain

  • RosalindS. Hunter
  • Andrew J. Oswald
  • Bruce G. Charlton

We collect data on the movement and productivity of elite scientists. Their mobility is remarkable: nearly half of the world's most-cited physicists work outside their country of birth. We show they migrate systematically towards nations with large R & D spending. Our study cannot adjudicate on whether migration improves scientists' productivity, but we find that movers and stayers have identical h-index citations scores. Immigrants in the UK and US now win Nobel Prizes proportionately less often than earlier. US residents' h-indexes are relatively high. We describe a framework where a key role is played by low mobility costs in the modern world. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 119 (2009)
Issue (Month): 538 (06)
Pages: F231-F251

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:538:p:f231-f251
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