IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp10275.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Gain from the Drain: Skill-biased Migration and Global Welfare

Author

Listed:
  • Biavaschi, Costanza

    (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))

  • Burzynski, Michal

    (LISER)

  • Elsner, Benjamin

    (University College Dublin)

  • Machado, Joël

    (LISER)

Abstract

High-skilled workers are four times more likely to migrate than low-skilled workers. This skill bias in migration – often called brain drain – has been at the center of a heated debate about the welfare consequences of emigration from developing countries. In this paper, we provide a global perspective on the brain drain by jointly quantifying its impact on the sending and receiving countries. In a calibrated multi-country model, we compare the current world to a counterfactual with the same number of migrants, but those migrants are randomly selected from their country of origin. We find that the skill bias in migration significantly increases welfare in most receiving countries. Moreover, due to a more efficient global allocation of talent, the global welfare effect is positive, albeit some sending countries lose. Overall, our findings suggest that more – not less – high-skilled migration would increase world welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Biavaschi, Costanza & Burzynski, Michal & Elsner, Benjamin & Machado, Joël, 2016. "The Gain from the Drain: Skill-biased Migration and Global Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 10275, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10275
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp10275.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Albert Bollard & David McKenzie & Melanie Morten & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Remittances and the Brain Drain Revisited: The Microdata Show That More Educated Migrants Remit More," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 132-156, May.
    2. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2012. "Testing the ‘brain gain’ hypothesis: Micro evidence from Cape Verde," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 32-45.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "Birthplace diversity and economic prosperity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 101-138, June.
    4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    5. Marco Delogu & Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2018. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 223-258, June.
    6. Simonovska, Ina & Waugh, Michael E., 2014. "The elasticity of trade: Estimates and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 34-50.
    7. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
    9. Christopher Parsons & Pierre‐Louis Vézina, 2018. "Migrant Networks and Trade: The Vietnamese Boat People as a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 210-234, July.
    10. Chand, Satish & Clemens, Michael A., 2023. "Human capital investment under exit options: Evidence from a natural quasi-experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C).
    11. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 209-223.
    12. Aubry, Amandine & Burzyński, Michał & Docquier, Frédéric, 2016. "The welfare impact of global migration in OECD countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 1-21.
    13. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Toubal, Farid, 2012. "Revisiting the Trade-Migration Nexus: Evidence from New OECD Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 928-937.
    14. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
    15. Julian Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko & Francesc Ortega, 2015. "A Global View Of Cross-Border Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 168-202, February.
    16. Biavaschi, Costanza & Elsner, Benjamin, 2013. "Let's Be Selective about Migrant Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 7865, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2010. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-14, May.
    18. Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich & Douglas R. Nelson, 2012. "Migration and Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 216-241, February.
    19. Iranzo, Susana & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "Migration and trade: Theory with an application to the Eastern-Western European integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-19, September.
    20. 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.
    21. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
    22. Michele Battisti & Gabriel Felbermayr & Giovanni Peri & Panu Poutvaara, 2018. "Immigration, Search and Redistribution: A Quantitative Assessment of Native Welfare," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1137-1188.
    23. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    24. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2011. "Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 77-104, May.
    25. Toman Barsbai & Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch, 2017. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 36-69, July.
    26. George J. Borjas, 2015. "Immigration and Globalization: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 961-974, December.
    27. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
    28. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2014. "Immigration and Native Welfare," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: European Economic Integration, WTO Membership, Immigration and Offshoring, chapter 10, pages 335-372, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    29. George J. Borjas, 2021. "The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining The Impact Of Immigration On The Labor Market," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 9, pages 235-274, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    30. Clemens, Michael A. & Pritchett, Lant, 2019. "The new economic case for migration restrictions: An assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 153-164.
    31. Chiswick, Barry R., 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," Working Papers 147, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State.
    32. Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina & Özden, Çaglar, 2008. "Brain waste? Educated immigrants in the US labor market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 255-269, October.
    33. Yoko Niimi & Caglar Ozden & Maurice Schiff, 2010. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Skilled Migrants Do Remit Less," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 123-141.
    34. Satish Chand & Michael A. Clemens, 2008. "Skilled emigration and skill creation: A quasi-experiment," International and Development Economics Working Papers idec08-05, International and Development Economics.
    35. George J. Borjas, 2021. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 4, pages 69-91, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    36. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
    37. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    38. Clemens, Michael & Pritchett, Lant, 2016. "The New Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment," Working Paper Series rwp16-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    39. Riccardo Faini, 2007. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Do More Skilled Migrants Remit More?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 177-191, May.
    40. John Kennan, 2013. "Open Borders," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 1-13, April.
    41. Slesh A. Shrestha, 2017. "No Man Left Behind: Effects of Emigration Prospects on Educational and Labour Outcomes of Non‐migrants," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(600), pages 495-521, March.
    42. Taryn Dinkelman & Martine Mariotti, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of Labor Migration on Human Capital Formation in Communities of Origin," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 1-35, October.
    43. Hamilton, Bob & Whalley, John, 1984. "Efficiency and distributional implications of global restrictions on labour mobility : Calculations and policy implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 61-75.
    44. Iranzo, Susana & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "Migration and trade: Theory with an application to the Eastern-Western European integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-19, September.
    45. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-987, December.
    46. Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
    47. Michel Beine & Fréderic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2008. "Brain Drain and Human Capital Formation in Developing Countries: Winners and Losers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 631-652, April.
    48. Klein Paul & Ventura Gustavo J, 2007. "TFP Differences and the Aggregate Effects of Labor Mobility in the Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, May.
    49. Gould, David M, 1994. "Immigrant Links to the Home Country: Empirical Implications for U.S. Bilateral Trade Flows," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 302-316, May.
    50. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    51. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Michal burzynski & Christoph Deuster & Frédéric Docquier, 2018. "The Geography of Talent: Development Implications and Long-Run Prospects," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018002, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Marco Delogu & Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2018. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 223-258, June.
    3. Burzyński, Michał, 2018. "Time, Space, And Skills In Designing Migration Policy," Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(4), pages 355-417, December.
    4. Burzynski, Michal & Deuster, Christoph & Docquier, Frédéric, 2020. "Geography of skills and global inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Biavaschi, Costanza & Burzyński, Michał & Elsner, Benjamin & Machado, Joël, 2020. "Taking the skill bias out of global migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).
    2. Marco Delogu & Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2018. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 223-258, June.
    3. Narcisse Cha'Ngom & Christoph Deuster & Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2023. "Selective Migration and Economic Development: A Generalized Approach," LISER Working Paper Series 2023-06, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    4. Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado & Khalid Sekkat, 2015. "Efficiency Gains from Liberalizing Labor Mobility," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(2), pages 303-346, April.
    5. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 681-730, September.
    6. Michael A. Clemens, 2016. "Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 37(7), pages 1227-1248, October.
    7. Frédéric Docquier & Riccardo Turati & Jérôme Valette & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2020. "Birthplace diversity and economic growth: evidence from the US states in the Post-World War II period [Cultural diversity and economic growth: evidence from the US during the age of mass migration]," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 321-354.
    8. Docquier, Frédéric & Iftikhar, Zainab, 2019. "Brain drain, informality and inequality: A search-and-matching model for sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 109-125.
    9. Michał Burzyński & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2018. "The Changing Structure of Immigration to the OECD: What Welfare Effects on Member Countries?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(3), pages 564-601, September.
    10. Frédéric Docquier & Riccardo Turati & Jérôme Valette & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2016. "Multiculturalism and Growth: Skill-Specific Evidence from the Post-World War II Period," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2016028, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    11. Christian Dustmann & Ian P. Preston, 2019. "Free Movement, Open Borders, and the Global Gains from Labor Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 11(1), pages 783-808, August.
    12. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 209-223.
    13. Marcus H. Böhme & Sarah Kups, 2017. "The economic effects of labour immigration in developing countries: A literature review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
    14. Jens Ruhose, 2015. "Microeconometric Analyses on Economic Consequences of Selective Migration," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 61, April.
    15. Hatton, Timothy J., 2014. "The economics of international migration: A short history of the debate," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 43-50.
    16. Björn NILSSON, 2019. "Education and migration: insights for policymakers," Working Paper 23ca9c54-061a-4d60-967c-f, Agence française de développement.
    17. Aubry, Amandine & Burzyński, Michał & Docquier, Frédéric, 2016. "The welfare impact of global migration in OECD countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 1-21.
    18. Hillel Rapoport, 2018. "Diaspora externalities: A view from the South," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-25, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    19. Adam Levai & Riccardo Turati, 2021. "The Impact of Immigration on Workers’ Protection," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 07 Sep 2021.
    20. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni & Wright, Greg C., 2018. "Immigration, trade and productivity in services: Evidence from U.K. firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 88-108.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    global welfare; brain drain; migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10275. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.