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The Brain Drain, "Educated Unemployment," Human Capital Formation, and Economic Betterment

  • Stark, Oded
  • Fan, C. Simon

Extending both the "harmful brain drain" literature and the "beneficial brain gain" literature, this paper analyzes both the negative and the positive impact of migration by skilled individuals in a unified framework. The paper extends the received literature on the "harmful brain drain" by showing that in the short run, international migration can result in "educated unemployment" and overeducation in developing countries, as well as a brain drain from these countries. A simulation suggests that the costs of "educated unemployment" and overeducation can amount to significant losses for the individuals concerned, who may constitute a substantial proportion of the educated individuals. Adopting a dynamic framework, it is then shown that due to the positive externality of the prevailing, economy-wide endowment of human capital on the formation of human capital, a relaxation in migration policy in both the current period and the preceding period can facilitate "take-off" of a developing country in the current period. Thus, it is suggested that while the migration of some educated individuals may reduce the social welfare of those who stay behind in the short run, it improves it in the long run.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/7122
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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF) in its series Discussion Papers with number 7122.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:ubzefd:7122
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  1. Stark, Oded, 2004. "Rethinking the Brain Drain," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 15-22, January.
  2. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2006. "International Migration and "Educated Unemployment"," Discussion Papers 7126, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  3. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human capital depletion, human capital formation, and migration: a blessing or a "curse"?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 363-367, September.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089.
  5. Boucher, Steve & Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward, 2005. "A Gain with a Drain? Evidence from Rural Mexico on the New Economics of the Brain Drain," Working Papers 190907, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. Stark, Oded & Wang, Yong, 2001. "Inducing Human Capital Formation: Migration as a Substitute for Subsidies," Economics Series 100, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  7. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10449, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Fan, C. Simon, 2004. "Quality, trade, and growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 271-291, October.
  9. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
  10. Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. ""Overeducation" in the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-22, April.
  11. Oded Stark, 2005. "The New Economics of the Brain Drain," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(2), pages 137-140, April.
  12. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Howard Davies, 2005. "Trade in the Chinese 21st Century," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(1), pages 1-13, January.
  14. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Income Distribution and Growth: The Kuznets Hypothesis Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S103-17, Suppl..
  15. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  16. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
  17. Eric A. Hanushek, 1996. "Measuring Investment in Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
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