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Is the medical brain drain beneficial? Evidence from overseas doctors in the UK

  • Mari Kangasniemi
  • L. Alan Winters
  • Simon Commander

The ¿beneficial brain drain¿ hypothesis suggests that skilled migration can be good for a sending country because the incentives it creates for training increase that country¿s supply of skilled labour. To work, this hypothesis requires that the degree of screening of migrants by the host country is limited and that the possibility of migration actually encourages home country residents to obtain education. We studied the implications of doctors¿ migration by conducting a survey among overseas doctors in the UK. The results suggest that the overseas doctors who come to the UK are carefully screened and that only a minority of doctors from developing countries considered the possibility of migration when they chose to obtain medical education. The incentive effect is thus probably not large enough to increase the skills-supply in developing countries. Doctors do, however, remit income to their home countries and many intend to return after completing their training in the UK, so there could be benefits via these routes.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19984/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19984.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19984
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2002. "Brain Drain and LDCs' Growth: Winners and Losers," Working Papers 2002-08, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  2. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human capital depletion, human capital formation, and migration: a blessing or a "curse"?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 363-367, September.
  3. Goldfarb, Robert & Havrylyshyn, Oli & Mangum, Stephen, 1984. "Can remittances compensate for manpower outflows : The case of Philippine physicians," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-3), pages 1-17.
  4. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  5. 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.
  6. K. Hamada & J. N. Bhagwati, 1975. "Domestic Distortions, Imperfect Information and the Brain Drain," Working papers 161, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. A M Findlay & F L N Li & A J Jowett & M Brown & R Skeldon, 1994. "Doctors diagnose their destination: an analysis of the length of employment abroad for Hong Kong doctors," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 26(10), pages 1605-1624, October.
  8. Simon Commander & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature," NBER Chapters, in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 235-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jean-Pierre Vidal, 1998. "The effect of emigration on human capital formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 589-600.
  10. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A brain gain with a brain drain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 227-234, August.
  11. Hamada, Koichi & Bhagwati, Jagdish, 1975. "Domestic distortions, imperfect information and the brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 265-279, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1975. "Brain drain and economic growth : A dynamic model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 223-247, September.
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