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How Large is the "Brain Drain" from Italy?

  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Andrea Ichino
  • Giovanni Peri

Using a comprehensive and newly organized dataset the present article shows that the human capital content of emigrants from Italy significantly increased during the 1990’s . This is even more dramatically the case if we consider emigrating college graduates, whose share relative to total emigrants quadrupled between 1990 and 1998. As a result, since the mid-1990’s the share of college graduates among emigrants from Italy has become larger than that share among residents of Italy. In the late nineties, between 3% and 5% of the new college graduates from Italy was dispersed abroad each year. Some preliminary international comparisons show that the nineties have only worsened a problem of ”brain drain”, that is unique to Italy, while other large economies in the European Union seem to experience a ”brain exchange”. While we do not search for an explanation of this phenomenon, we characterize such an increase in emigration of college graduates as pervasive across age groups and areas of emigration (the North and the South of the country). We also find a tendency during the 1990’s towards increasing emigration of young people (below 45) and of people from Northern regions.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-01/cesifo_wp839.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 839.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_839
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  1. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  2. Charles I. Jones, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 220-239, March.
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  4. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Andrea Brandolini, 1999. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Post-War Italy: Source Description, Data Quality, and the Time Pattern of Income Inequality," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 350, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  8. Angrist, Joshua & Kugler, Adriana D., 2002. "Protective or Counter-Productive? European Labour Market Institutions and the Effect of Immigrants on EU Natives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3196, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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