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Brain Drain, Brain Gain and Economic Growth in China

Listed author(s):
  • Wei Ha

    ()

    (Policy Specialist at the Human Development Report Office, UNDP)

  • Junjian Yi

    ()

    (Economics Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong)

  • Junsen Zhang

    ()

    (Economics Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong)

This paper examines the effects of both permanent and temporary emigration on human capital formation and economic growth of the source regions. To achieve this end, this paper explores the Chinese provincial panel data from 1980 to 2005. First, the fixed effects model is employed to estimate the effect of emigration on school enrollment rates in the source regions. Relative to this aspect, we find that the magnitude (scale) of permanent emigrants (measured by the permanent emigration ratio) is conducive to the improvement of both middle and high schools enrollments. In contrast, the magnitude of temporary emigrants has a significantly positive effect on middle school enrollment but does not have a significant effect on high school enrollment. More interestingly, different educational attainments of temporary emigrants have different effects on school enrollment. Specifically, the share of temporary emigrants with high school education positively affects middle school enrollment, while the share of temporary emigrants with middle school education negatively affects high school enrollment. Second, the instrumental variable method is applied to estimate the effect of emigration on economic growth within the framework of system Generalized Method of Moments (GMM). The estimation results suggest that both permanent and temporary emigrations have a detrimental effect on the economic growth of the source regions. Our empirical tests provide some new evidence to the "brain drain" debate, which has recently received increasing attention.

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Paper provided by Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its series Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) with number HDRP-2009-37.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision: Aug 2009
Publication status: Published as background research for the 2009 Human Development Report.
Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2009-37
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