Is the Medical Brain Drain Beneficial? Evidence from Overseas Doctors in the UK
The ¿beneficial brain drain¿ hypothesis suggests that skilled migration can be good for a sending countrybecause the incentives it creates for training increase that country¿s supply of skilled labour. To work, thishypothesis requires that the degree of screening of migrants by the host country is limited and that thepossibility of migration actually encourages home country residents to obtain education. We studied theimplications of doctors¿ migration by conducting a survey among overseas doctors in the UK. The resultssuggest that the overseas doctors who come to the UK are carefully screened and that only a minority of doctorsfrom developing countries considered the possibility of migration when they chose to obtain medical education.The incentive effect is thus probably not large enough to increase the skills-supply in developing countries.Doctors do, however, remit income to their home countries and many intend to return after completing theirtraining in the UK, so there could be benefits via these routes.
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