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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kangasniemi, Mari & Winters, L. Alan & Commander, Simon, 2007. "Is the medical brain drain beneficial? Evidence from overseas doctors in the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 915-923, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:65:y:2007:i:5:p:915-923
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    Cited by:

    1. John E. Roemer & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2016. "Barefoot and footloose doctors: optimal resource allocation in developing countries with medical migration," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(2), pages 335-358, February.
    2. Bhargava, Alok & Docquier, Frédéric & Moullan, Yasser, 2011. "Modeling the effects of physician emigration on human development," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 172-183, March.
    3. Huish, Robert, 2009. "How Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine challenges the ethics of physician migration," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 301-304, August.
    4. Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2016. "Global Competition for Attracting Talents and the World Economy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 530-542, April.
    5. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Luca Marchiori & I-Ling Shen, 2016. "Revisiting the Brain Drain Literature with Insights from a Dynamic General Equilibrium World Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 557-573, April.
    6. Docquier, Frédéric & Faye, Ousmane & Pestieau, Pierre, 2008. "Is migration a good substitute for education subsidies?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 263-276, June.
    7. Boncea Irina, 2013. "Medical Brain Drain - A Theoretical Approach," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 64-71, July.
    8. Yasser Moullan, 2009. "Can Health Foreign Assistance Break the Medical Brain Drain ?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00399306, HAL.
    9. Di Maria, Corrado & Lazarova, Emiliya A., 2012. "Migration, Human Capital Formation, and Growth: An Empirical Investigation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 938-955.
    10. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 681-730, September.
    11. Docquier, Frédéric, 2006. "Brain Drain and Inequality Across Nations," IZA Discussion Papers 2440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Martine Rutten, 2009. "The Economic Impact of Medical Migration: An Overview of the Literature," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 291-325, February.
    13. Christopher R. Parsons & L. Alan Winters, 2014. "International migration, trade and aid: a survey," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 4, pages 65-112 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Elisabetta Lodigiani, 2009. "Diaspora Externalities as a Cornerstone of the New Brain Drain Literature," CREA Discussion Paper Series 09-03, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    15. Michel Grignon & Yaw Owusu & Arthur Sweetman, 2013. "The international migration of health professionals," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 4, pages 75-97 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Legido-Quigley, Helena & Saliba, Vanessa & McKee, Martin, 2015. "Exploring the experiences of EU qualified doctors working in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(4), pages 494-502.
    17. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Oden-Defoort, Cecily, 2011. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Brain Gain," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 523-532, April.
    18. Ernest MIGUELEZ & Claudia NOUMEDEM TEMGOUA, 2017. "Immigration externalities, knowledge flows and brain gain," Cahiers du GREThA 2017-07, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    19. Rutten, Martine, 2008. "Medical migration : what can we learn from the UK's perspective ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4593, The World Bank.
    20. Okeke, Edward N., 2013. "Brain drain: Do economic conditions “push” doctors out of developing countries?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 169-178.
    21. Holdaway, Jennifer & Levitt, Peggy & Fang, Jing & Rajaram, Narasimhan, 2015. "Mobility and health sector development in China and India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 268-276.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    UK Migration Brain drain International labour market Doctors;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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