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Testing the 'Brain Gain' Hypothesis: MIcro Evidence from Cape Verde

  • Catia Batista, Aitor Lacuesta and Pedro C. Vicente

Does emigration really drain human capital accumulation in origin countries? This paper explores a unique household survey purposely designed and conducted to answer this research question. We analyze the case of Cape Verde, a country with allegedly the highest ‘brain drain’ in Africa, despite a marked record of income and human capital growth in recent decades. Our micro data enables us to propose the first explicit test of ‘brain gain’ arguments according to which the prospects of own future migration can positively impact educational attainment. According to our results, a 10pp increase in the probability of own future migration improves the average probability of completing intermediate secondary schooling by 8pp. Our findings are robust to the choice of instruments and econometric model. Overall, we find that there may be substantial human capital gains from lowering migration barriers.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp282.

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Date of creation: 16 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp282
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  2. Faini, Riccardo, 2006. "Remittances and the Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 2155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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  8. 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.
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  10. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  11. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2007. "Brain Drain or Brain Gain? Micro Evidence from an African Success Story," IZA Discussion Papers 3035, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Mallar, Charles D, 1977. "The Estimation of Simultaneous Probability Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1717-22, October.
  13. Barry Chiswick & Timothy J.. Hatton, 2003. "International Migration and the Integration of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 65-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  16. Aitor Lacuesta, 2006. "Emigration and human capital: who leaves, who comes back and what difference does it make?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0620, Banco de Espa�a.
  17. Mountford, Andrew, 1997. "Can a brain drain be good for growth in the source economy?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 287-303, August.
  18. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Oden-Defoort, Cecily, 2011. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Brain Gain," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 523-532, April.
  19. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
  20. Joshua D. Angrist, 1991. "Instrumental Variables Estimation of Average Treatment Effects in Econometrics and Epidemiology," NBER Technical Working Papers 0115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2008. "Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 3564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Catia Batista, 2008. "Why Doesn't Labor Flow from Poor to Rich Countries? Micro Evidence from the European Integration Experience," Economics Series Working Papers 402, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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