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Is the medical brain drain beneficial? Evidence from overseas doctors in the UK

  • Kangasniemi, Mari
  • Winters, L. Alan
  • Commander, Simon

The 'beneficial brain drain' hypothesis suggests that skilled migration can be good for a sending country because the incentives it creates for obtaining training increase that country's net supply of skilled labour. Necessary conditions for this hypothesis to work are that the possibility of migration significantly affects decisions to take medical training and that migrants are not strongly screened by the host country. We conducted a survey among overseas doctors in the UK in 2002, which suggested that neither condition is likely to be fulfilled. Apart from the 'beneficial brain drain' argument, the survey findings also cast light on the backgrounds and motives of migrant doctors, and finds evidence that there could, nonetheless, be other benefits to sending countries via routes like remittances and return migration.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 65 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 915-923

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:65:y:2007:i:5:p:915-923
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  1. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Alexia Prskawetz, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration: A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Departmental Working Papers _096, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  2. Hamada, Koichi & Bhagwati, Jagdish, 1975. "Domestic distortions, imperfect information and the brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-279, September.
  3. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Jean-Pierre Vidal, 1998. "The effect of emigration on human capital formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 589-600.
  5. Simon Commander & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature," NBER Chapters, in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 235-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2002. "Brain Drain and LDCs' Growth: Winners and Losers," Working Papers 2002-08, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  7. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
  8. Goldfarb, Robert & Havrylyshyn, Oli & Mangum, Stephen, 1984. "Can remittances compensate for manpower outflows : The case of Philippine physicians," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-3), pages 1-17.
  9. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A brain gain with a brain drain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 227-234, August.
  10. Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1975. "Brain drain and economic growth : A dynamic model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 223-247, September.
  11. K. Hamada & J. N. Bhagwati, 1975. "Domestic Distortions, Imperfect Information and the Brain Drain," Working papers 161, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. A M Findlay & F L N Li & A J Jowett & M Brown & R Skeldon, 1994. "Doctors diagnose their destination: an analysis of the length of employment abroad for Hong Kong doctors," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 26(10), pages 1605-1624, October.
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