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The Elite Brain Drain

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • RosalindS. Hunter & Andrew J. Oswald & Bruce G. Charlton, 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages 231-251, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:538:p:f231-f251
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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