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Human capital acquisition and international migration in a model of educational market


  • Zakharenko, Roman


This paper analyzes international high-skilled migration caused by financial frictions in educational market. I develop a model of learning in which acquisition of skill is only possible through personal interaction with a skilled individual; the income of the skilled is sensitive to financial constraints for the unskilled. Cross-country differences in such constraints have a multiplicative effect on the skill premium, causing outmigration of skilled individuals from a less developed country. I study welfare implications of such brain drain for the sending and receiving countries. Although it makes more difficult skill acquisition in the sending country, the unskilled may still be better off: increased cost of skill acquisition is offset by higher income once the skill has been acquired. For the receiving country, I identify a phenomenon of immiserizing immigration: a depletion of the stock of skill in the sending country due to brain drain hinders further production of skill, which may hurt the receiving country. Additionally, I find that increased openness of the sending country to migration and the resultant accelerated brain drain increase the incentives of the country government to reduce financial frictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Zakharenko, Roman, 2012. "Human capital acquisition and international migration in a model of educational market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 808-816.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:42:y:2012:i:5:p:808-816 DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2011.11.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Herbst, Mikolaj & Rok, Jakub, 2013. "Mobility of human capital and its effect on regional economic development. Review of theory and empirical literature," MPRA Paper 45755, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Li, Guo & Mroz, Thomas A., 2013. "Expected income and labor market choices of US married couples: A locally weighted regression approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 985-995.

    More about this item


    Skill acquisition; Brain drain; Immiserizing immigration; Financial constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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