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Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development

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  • Michael A. Clemens

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to critique the last decade of research on the effects of high-skill emigration from developing countries, and proposes six new directions for fruitful research. Design/methodology/approach - The study singles out a core assumption underlying much of the recent literature, calling it the “Lump of Learning model” of human capital and development, and describes five ways that research has come to challenge that assumption. It assesses the usefulness of that model in the face of accumulating evidence. Findings - The axioms of the Lump of Learning model have shaped research priorities in this literature, but many of those axioms do not have a clear empirical basis. Future research proceeding from established facts would set different priorities, and would devote more attention to measuring the effects of migration on skilled migrant households, rigorously estimating human capital externalities, gathering microdata beyond censuses, and carefully considering optimal policy – among others. Originality/value - The recent literature has pursued a series of extensions to the Lump of Learning model. This study urges instead discarding that model, pointing toward a new paradigm for research on skilled migration and development.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Clemens, 2016. "Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(7), pages 1227-1248, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:37:y:2016:i:7:p:1227-1248
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    2. Dany Bahar, 2020. "Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 62(2), pages 200-214, June.
    3. Björn NILSSON, 2019. "Education and migration: insights for policymakers," Working Paper 23ca9c54-061a-4d60-967c-f, Agence française de développement.
    4. Dany Bahar, 0. "Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 0, pages 1-15.
    5. Michael A. Clemens, 2015. "Smart policy toward high-skill emigrants," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 203-203, November.
    6. Lücke, Matthias & Sundberg Diez, Olivia & Jegen, Leonie & Zanker, Franzisca, 2020. "2020 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe. European and African perspectives on asylum and migration policy: Seeking common ground," MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe, Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM), number 233979.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brain drain; Recruitment; Poverty; Regional development; Skilled workers; Public policy; Labour market; Migrant workers; Immigration; Skills shortages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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