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Addition through Depletion: The Brain Drain as a Catalyst of Human Capital Formation and Economic Betterment


  • Stark, Oded

    (University of Bonn)

  • C Simon Fan


Enabling educated individuals to work abroad entails a brain drain and results in educated unemployment at home. Because the prospect of migration raises the expected returns to higher education it also facilitates a "brain gain": a eveloping economy ends up with a higher fraction of educated individuals. Due to the positive externality effect of the prevailing, economy-wide endowment of human capital on the formation of human capital, a relaxation of migration policy pursued in both the current period and the preceding period can greatly facilitate the "take-off" of a developing economy in the current period. Thus we identify a new policy tool that could yield an improvement in the well-being of the population of a developing economy: a controlled migration of educated workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Stark, Oded & C Simon Fan, 2003. "Addition through Depletion: The Brain Drain as a Catalyst of Human Capital Formation and Economic Betterment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 192, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:192

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schiff, Maurice, 2005. "Brain Gain: Claims about Its Size and Impact on Welfare and Growth Are Greatly Exaggerated," IZA Discussion Papers 1599, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Brain drain; human capital formation; externalities; economic growth; social welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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