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Measuring International Skilled Migration: New Estimates Controlling for Age of Entry


  • Michel Beine

    () (University of Luxemburg and Universite Libre de Bruxelles)

  • Frederic Docquier

    () (FNRS and IRES, Universite Catholique de Louvain)

  • Hillel Rapoport

    () (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, CADRE, Universite de Lille 2, and CReAM, University College London)


Recent data on international skilled migration define skilled migrants according to education level independently of whether education has been acquired in the home or in the host country. In this paper we use immigrants' age of entry as a proxy for where education has been acquired. Data on age of entry are available from a subset of receiving countries which together represent more than 3/4 of total skilled immigration to the OECD. Using these data and a simple gravity model, we estimate the age-of-entry structure of skilled immigration and propose alternative brain drain measures by excluding those arrived before age 12, 18 and 22. The results for 2000 show that on average, 68% of the global brain drain is accounted for by emigration of people aged 22 or more upon arrival (78% and 87% for the 18 and 12 year old thresholds, respectively). For some countries this indeed makes a substantial difference. However, cross-country differences are globally maintained, resulting in extremely high correlation levels between corrected and incorrected rates. Similar results are obtained for 1990.

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  • Michel Beine & Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2006. "Measuring International Skilled Migration: New Estimates Controlling for Age of Entry," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0613, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0613

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuelle Auriol & Alice Mesnard, 2016. "Sale of Visas: a Smuggler's Final Song?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(332), pages 646-678, October.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 179-208, May.
    3. Docquier, Frédéric & Rapoport, Hillel & Salomone, Sara, 2012. "Remittances, migrants' education and immigration policy: Theory and evidence from bilateral data," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 817-828.
    4. Docquier Frédéric & Rapoport Hillel, 2009. "Documenting the Brain Drain of “La Crème de la Crème”: Three Case-Studies on International Migration at the Upper Tail of the Education Distribution," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(6), pages 679-705, December.
    5. Frederic, DOCQUIER & B. Lindsay, LOWELL & Abdeslam, MARFOUK, 2007. "A gendered assessment of the brain drain," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007045, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    6. Domenico Scalera, 2012. "Skilled Migration And Education Policies: Is There Still Scope For A Bhagwati Tax?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 80(4), pages 447-467, July.
    7. Aleksynska, Mariya & Tritah, Ahmed, 2013. "Occupation–education mismatch of immigrant workers in Europe: Context and policies," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 229-244.
    8. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2006. "The circulation migration of the skilled and economic development," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, pages 147-170.
    9. Artjoms IVLEVS & Jaime DE MELO, 2015. "FDI, the Brain Drain and Trade: Channels and Evidence," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 21, pages 533-551 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Docquier, Frédéric & Faye, Ousmane & Pestieau, Pierre, 2008. "Is migration a good substitute for education subsidies?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 263-276, June.
    11. Carolina Arteaga Cabrales, 2011. "Human Capital Externalities and Growth," Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 29(66), pages 12-47, Diciembre.
    12. Abubakar Lawan Ngoma & Normaz Wana Ismail, 2013. "The Impact of Brain Drain on Human Capital in Developing Countries," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(2), pages 211-224, June.
    13. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 681-730, September.
    14. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
    15. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2011. "The microeconomic determinants of emigration and return migration of the best and brightest: Evidence from the Pacific," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 18-29, May.
    16. Elisabetta Lodigiani, 2009. "Diaspora Externalities as a Cornerstone of the New Brain Drain Literature," CREA Discussion Paper Series 09-03, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    17. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Oden-Defoort, Cecily, 2011. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Brain Gain," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 523-532, April.
    18. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Schiff, Maurice, 2008. "Brain Drain and its Determinants: A Major Issue for Small States," IZA Discussion Papers 3398, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Cansu Ünver, 2015. "Does Broadband Facilitate Immigration Flows? A Non-Linear Instrumental Variable Approach," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 69-104, January.
    20. Aaron Jackson & David Ortmeyer & Michael Quinn, 2013. "Are immigrants really attracted to the welfare state? Evidence from OECD countries," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 491-519, December.
    21. World Bank, 2013. "From Double-Dip Recession to Fragile Recovery," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16559, The World Bank.

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