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Brain Drain in Developing Countries

  • Abdeslam Marfouk

An original data set on international migration by educational attainment for 1990 and 2000 is used to analyze the determinants of brain drain from developing countries. The analysis starts with a simple decomposition of the brain drain in two multiplicative components, the degree of openness of sending countries (measured by the average emigration rate) and the schooling gap (measured by the education level of emigrants compared with natives). Regression models are used to identify the determinants of these components and explain cross-country differences in the migration of skilled workers. Unsurprisingly, the brain drain is strong in small countries that are close to major Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regions, that share colonial links with OECD countries, and that send most of their migrants to countries with quality-selective immigration programs. Interestingly, the brain drain increases with political instability and the degree of fractionalization at origin and decreases with natives' human capital. Copyright The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 193-218

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:21:y:2007:i:2:p:193-218
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