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On the robustness of brain gain estimates

  • Michel BEINE

    (UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBURG and CES-Ifo)

  • Frederic DOCQUIER

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and FNRS)

  • Hillel RAPOPORT

    (Department of Economics, BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY, EQUIPPE (Universités de Lille))

Recent theoretical studies suggest that migration prospects can raise the expected return to human capital and thus foster education investment at home or, in other words, induce a brain gain. In a recent paper (Beine, Docquier and Rapoport, Economic Journal, 2008) we used the Docquier and Marfouk (2006) data set on emigration rates by education level to examine the impact of brain drain migration on gross (pre-migration) human capital formation in developing countries. We found a positive effect of skilled migration prospects on human capital growth in a cross-section of 127 developing countries, with an elasticity of about 5 percent. In this paper we assess the robustness of our results to the use of alternative brain drain measures, definitions of human capital, and functional forms. We find that the results hold using the Beine et al. (2007) alternative brain drain measures controlling for whether migrants acquired their skills in the home or in the host country. We also regress other indicators of human capital investment on skilled migration rates and find a positive effect on youth literacy while the effect on school enrolment depends on the exact specification chosen.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2009018.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2009018
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  1. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1997. "Stabilization Policy, Learning-by-Doing, and Economic Growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 152-66, April.
  2. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration. A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Economics Series 55, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  3. Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2004. "Skilled migration: the perspective of developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3382, The World Bank.
  4. Michel, BEINE & Frédéric, DOCQUIER & Hillel, RAPOPORT, 2006. "Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries : winners and losers," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006023, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  5. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Ethnic Discrimination and the Migration of Skilled Labor," Working Papers 2001-19, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frédéric, 2005. "The Economics of Migrants’ Remittances," IZA Discussion Papers 1531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  9. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  10. Kanbur, Ravi & Rapoport, Hillel, 2003. "Migration Selectivity And The Evolution Of Spatial Inequality," Working Papers 127769, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  11. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Transfers, social safety nets and economic growth," Economics Working Papers 139, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  13. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Measuring international skilled migration: a new database controlling for age of entry," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10411, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hillel RAPOPORT, 2003. "Endogenous discrimination, migration prospects and the protection of ethnic minorities," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 71-72, pages 79-95.
  15. Abigail Barr, 1995. "The missing factor: entrepreneurial networks, enterprises and economic growth in Ghana," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1995-11, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  17. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  18. Faini, Riccardo, 2003. "Is the Brain Drain an Unmitigated Blessing?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  19. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  20. Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2004. "Externalities and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  22. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 1999. "Fuite des cerveaux et formation de capital humain," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 79, pages 63-72.
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