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The Brain Drain: an Unmitigated Blessing?

  • Riccardo Faini

    (Italian Ministry of Economy; University of Brescia; IZA and CEPR)

Increasingly, immigration policies tend to favour the entry of skilled workers, raising substantial concerns among sending countries. The “revisionist” approach to the analysis of the brain drain holds that such concerns are largely unwarranted. First, sustained migratory flows may be associated with an equally large flow of remittances. Second, migrants may return home after having acquired a set of productive skills. Finally, the ability to migrate abroad may boost the incentive to acquire skills by home residents. This paper takes a further look at the link between skilled migration, education, and remittances. It finds little support for the revisionist approach. First, a higher skilled content of migration is found to be associated with a lower flow of remittances. Second, there is little evidence suggesting that raising the skill composition of migration has a positive effect on the educational achievements in the home country.

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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 173.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:173
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  1. Edgard R. Rodriguez & Susan Horton, 1995. "International Return Migration and Remittances in the Philippines," Working Papers horton-95-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. J. N. Bhagwati & C. Rodriguez, 1975. "Welfare-Theoretical Analysis of the Brain Drain," Working papers 158, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Miyagiwa, K., 1989. "Scale Economics In Education And The Brain Drain Problem," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 89-09, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  4. Borjas, George J, 1989. "Immigrant and Emigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 21-37, January.
  5. Johnson, George E & Whitelaw, W E, 1974. " Urban-Rural Income Transfers in Kenya: An Estimated-Remittances Function," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 473-79, April.
  6. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Alexia Prskawetz, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration: A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Departmental Working Papers _096, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  9. Bauer, Thomas & Gang, Ira, 1998. "Temporary Migrants from Egypt: How Long Do They Stay Abroad?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2003, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
  11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  12. Patricia Reagan & Randall Olsen, 2000. "You can go home again: Evidence from longitudinal data," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 339-350, August.
  13. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
  14. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
  15. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Hamada, Koichi, 1974. "The brain drain, international integration of markets for professionals and unemployment : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-42, April.
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