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Assessing the South African Brain Drain, a Statistical Comparison


  • Jean-Baptiste Meyer
  • Mercy Brown
  • David Kaplan

    () (University of Cape Town)


For several decades the analysis of the so-called brain drain has been hampered by measurement problems. It is now recognised that the official figures significantly underestimate the extent of the brain drain phenomenon and its increase since the political changes in the mid-1990's. This paper, using data from various reliable sources, provides new statistical evidence on the size of the brain drain from South Africa. It compares two methods used to arrive at a more realistic picture of the South African brain drain. The paper reveals that the official figures are far below realistic estimates of the outflows and the mid-90's increase is much smaller than reported by these figures. A new perspective comes out of the multiple data comparison.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Baptiste Meyer & Mercy Brown & David Kaplan, 2000. "Assessing the South African Brain Drain, a Statistical Comparison," Working Papers 00040, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:00040

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Stern & Gabor Szalontai, 2006. "Immigration policy in South Africa: does it make economic sense?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 123-145.

    More about this item


    South Africa: brain drain;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


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