IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries

  • John Gibson
  • David McKenzie

Brain drain has long been a common concern for migrant-sending countries, particularly for small countries where high-skilled emigration rates are highest. However, while economic theory suggests a number of possible benefits, in addition to costs, from skilled emigration, the evidence base on many of these is very limited. Moreover, the lessons from case studies of benefits to China and India from skilled emigration may not be relevant to much smaller countries. This paper presents the results of innovative surveys which tracked academic high-achievers from five countries to wherever they moved in the world in order to directly measure at the micro level the channels through which high-skilled emigration affects the sending country. The results show that there are very high levels of emigration and of return migration among the very highly skilled; the income gains to the best and brightest from migrating are very large, and an order of magnitude or more greater than any other effect; there are large benefits from migration in terms of postgraduate education; most high-skilled migrants from poorer countries send remittances; but that involvement in trade and foreign direct investment is a rare occurrence. There is considerable knowledge flow from both current and return migrants about job and study opportunities abroad, but little net knowledge sharing from current migrants to home country governments or businesses. Finally, the fiscal costs vary considerably across countries, and depend on the extent to which governments rely on progressive income taxation.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2012.02498.x
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 122 (2012)
Issue (Month): 560 (05)
Pages: 339-375

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i:560:p:339-375
Contact details of provider: Postal: Office of the Secretary-General, School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AL, UK
Phone: +44 1334 462479
Web page: http://www.res.org.uk/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.blackwellpublishers.co.uk/asp/journal.asp?ref=0013-0133

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Constant, Amelie F. & D'Agosto, Elena, 2008. "Where Do the Brainy Italians Go?," IZA Discussion Papers 3325, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    • Amelie F. Constant & Elena D’Agosto, 2010. "Where Do the Brainy Italians Go?," AIEL Series in Labour Economics, in: Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore (ed.), The Labour Market Impact of the EU Enlargement. A New Regional Geography of Europe?, edition 1, chapter 10, pages 247-271 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
  2. Michael Clemens, 2010. "The Roots of Global Wage Gaps: Evidence from Randomized Processing of U.S. Visas," Working Papers 212, Center for Global Development.
  3. Javorcik, Beata S. & Özden, Çaglar & Spatareanu, Mariana & Neagu, Cristina, 2011. "Migrant networks and foreign direct investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 231-241, March.
  4. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. William R. Kerr, 2005. "Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 06-022, Harvard Business School, revised Apr 2007.
  6. Giorgio Brunello & Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer Effects In Higher Education: Does The Field Of Study Matter?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 621-634, 07.
  7. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
  8. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2011. "The microeconomic determinants of emigration and return migration of the best and brightest: Evidence from the Pacific," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 18-29, May.
  9. Alok Bhargava & Frédéric Docquier, 2008. "HIV Pandemic, Medical Brain Drain, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 345-366, May.
  10. Albert Bollard & David McKenzie & Melanie Morten & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Remittances and the Brain Drain Revisited: The Microdata Show That More Educated Migrants Remit More," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 132-156, May.
  11. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Michel, BEINE & Frédéric, DOCQUIER & Hillel, RAPOPORT, 2006. "Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries : winners and losers," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006023, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  13. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2010. "Migration and Economic Mobility in Tanzania: Evidence from a Tracking Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 7759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2010. "The Complementarity Between Cities And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 221-244.
  15. 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.
  16. Jim Davies, . "Empirical Evidence on Human Capital Externalities," Working Papers-Department of Finance Canada 2003-11, Department of Finance Canada.
  17. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  18. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Hamada, Koichi, 1974. "The brain drain, international integration of markets for professionals and unemployment : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-42, April.
  19. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  20. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Michael Clemens, 2007. "Do Visas Kill? Health Effects of African Health Professional Emigration," Working Papers 114, Center for Global Development.
  22. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hillel RAPOPORT, 2011. "Globalization, brain drain and development," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011009, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  23. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 2007. "Star Scientists, Innovation and Regional and National Immigration," NBER Working Papers 13547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Sebastian Gundel & Heiko Peters, 2008. "What determines the duration of stay of immigrants in Germany?: Evidence from a longitudinal duration analysis," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(11), pages 769-782, October.
  25. 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).
  26. Ben-David, Dan, 2007. "Soaring Minds: The Flight of Israel’s Economists," CEPR Discussion Papers 6338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2000. "The Optimal Migration Duration and Activity Choice after Re-migration," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-39, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  28. Simon Commander & Rupa Chanda & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "The Consequences of Globalisation: India's Software Industry and Cross-border Labour Mobility -super-1 ," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 187-211, 02.
  29. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frédéric, 2005. "The Economics of Migrants’ Remittances," IZA Discussion Papers 1531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2003. "International migration, remittances, and the brain drain ; a study of 24 labor exporting countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3069, The World Bank.
  31. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 1999. "Ethnic Chinese Networks in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Gibson, John, 2001. "Unobservable family effects and the apparent external benefits of education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 225-233, June.
  33. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A brain gain with a brain drain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 227-234, August.
  34. Manon Domingues Dos Santos & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2003. "Migration as a source of growth: The perspective of a developing country," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 161-175, 02.
  35. Mountford, Andrew, 1997. "Can a brain drain be good for growth in the source economy?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 287-303, August.
  36. Nobuhiko Fuwa, 2010. "Should We Track Migrant Households When Collecting Household Panel Data? Household Relocation, Economic Mobility, and Attrition Biases in the Rural Philippines," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(1), pages 56-82.
  37. Michael Clemens & Satish Chand, 2008. "Skilled Emigration and Skill Creation: A quasi-experiment," Working Papers 152, Center for Global Development.
  38. Faini, Riccardo, 2006. "Remittances and the Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 2155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  39. Albert Bollard & David McKenzie & Melanie Morten, 2009. "The Remitting Patterns of African Migrants in the OECD," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0921, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  40. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  41. Schiff, Maurice, 2005. "Brain Gain: Claims about Its Size and Impact on Welfare and Growth Are Greatly Exaggerated," IZA Discussion Papers 1599, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  42. Robert H. Haveman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1984. "Schooling and Economic Well-Being: The Role of Nonmarket Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 377-407.
  43. Hunter, Rosalind S. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Charlton, Bruce G., 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 4005, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  44. Riccardo Faini, 2007. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Do More Skilled Migrants Remit More?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 177-191, May.
  45. Michael Clemens & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "Income per natural: Measuring development as if people mattered more than places," Working Papers 143, Center for Global Development.
  46. Michael A. Clemens & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "Income per Natural: Measuring Development for People Rather Than Places," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(3), pages 395-434.
  47. Alice Mesnard, 2004. "Temporary migration and capital market imperfections," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 242-262, April.
  48. Kugler, Maurice & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "International labor and capital flows: Complements or substitutes?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 155-162, February.
  49. Supreet Kaur & Michael Kremer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2010. "Self-Control and the Development of Work Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 624-28, May.
  50. Ça?lar Özden & Maurice Schiff, 2006. "International Migration, Remittances, and the Brain Drain," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6929.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i:560:p:339-375. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.