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The brain drain and the world distribution of income

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  • Mountford, Andrew
  • Rapoport, Hillel

Abstract

Skilled emigration (or brain drain) from developing to developed countries is becoming the dominant pattern of international migration today. Such migration is likely to affect the world distribution of income both directly, through the mobility of people, and indirectly, as the prospect of migration affects the rate of return to education in both the sending and receiving economies. This migration pattern will therefore affect human capital accumulation and fertility decisions in both the sending and receiving economies. This paper analyzes these effects in a dynamic two country model of the world economy where agents in both countries make optimal fertility and human capital decisions. The implications of the analysis for the world distribution of income are derived in the light of recent empirical findings of the brain drain literature. The analysis shows that the current trend towards predominantly skilled emigration from poor to rich countries may in the long run increase inequality in the world distribution of income as relatively poor countries grow large in terms of population. In the short run however, it is possible for world inequality to fall due to rises in GDP per capita in large developing economies with sufficiently low skilled emigration rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Mountford, Andrew & Rapoport, Hillel, 2011. "The brain drain and the world distribution of income," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 4-17, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:4-17
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    Cited by:

    1. Djajić, Slobodan & Michael, Michael S. & Vinogradova, Alexandra, 2012. "Migration of skilled workers: Policy interaction between host and source countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1015-1024.
    2. Bertoli, Simone & Marchetta, Francesca, 2015. "Bringing It All Back Home – Return Migration and Fertility Choices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 27-40.
    3. Andrew Mountford & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "Migration Policy, African Population Growth and Global Inequality," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 543-556, April.
    4. Marco DELOGU & Frédéric DOCQUIER & Joël MACHADO, 2013. "The dynamic implications of liberalizing global migration," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013029, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Simone Bertoli & Francesca Marchetta, 2014. "Migration, Remittances and Poverty in Ecuador," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(8), pages 1067-1089, August.
    6. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 681-730, September.
    7. Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2016. "On the Economic Geography of International Migration," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 478-495, April.
    8. Leonid V. Azarnert, 2012. "Guest‐worker Migration, Human Capital and Fertility," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 318-330, May.
    9. Alexander Haupt & Silke Uebelmesser, 2014. "Labour Market Integration, Human Capital Formation, and Mobility," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-020, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    10. George Naufal, 2015. "Impact of remittances on fertility," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 207-207, November.
    11. Şule Akkoyunlu, 2013. "Migration-Induced Women’s Empowerment: The Case of Turkey," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/77, European University Institute.
    12. Akira Yakita, 2012. "Different demographic changes and patterns of trade in a Heckscher–Ohlin setting," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(3), pages 853-870, July.
    13. DELOGU Marco & DOCQUIER Frédéric & MACHADO Joël, 2017. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," LISER Working Paper Series 2017-16, LISER.
    14. Antwi, James & Phillips, David C., 2013. "Wages and health worker retention: Evidence from public sector wage reforms in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 101-115.
    15. Bénassy, Jean-Pascal & Brezis, Elise S., 2013. "Brain drain and development traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 15-22.
    16. repec:eee:intfin:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:64-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2013. "Globalized Market for Talents and Inequality: What Can Be Learnt from European Football?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1034, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    18. Casey, Gregory & Galor, Oded, 2014. "Population Dynamics and Long-Run Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 62598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Vikhrov Dmytro, 2013. "Welfare Effects of Labor Migration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp491, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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