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Consumers and the Brain Drain: Product Design and the Gains from Emigration

  • Kuhn, Peter J.

    ()

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • McAusland, Carol

    ()

    (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

We consider the welfare effects of skilled worker emigration in a context where skilled labor plays a role in product design. We show such emigration can benefit the residents left behind, even when consumers’ tastes exhibit a form of home bias. This is because emigration improves the design of goods designed by skilled emigrants but consumed in the sending country. In contrast to existing models of beneficial brain drain, our results do not require agglomeration economies, education-related externalities, remittances, return migration, or an emigration “lottery”. Instead, they are driven purely by differences in market size that induce skilled emigrants to design better products abroad than at home.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3602.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of International Economics, 2009, 78(2), 287–291
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3602
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  1. Kuhn, Peter J. & McAusland, Carol, 2006. "The International Migration of Knowledge Workers: When Is Brain Drain Beneficial?," IZA Discussion Papers 2493, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1975. "On the Welfare Aspects of International Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1065-72, October.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Edwin L.-C. Lai, 2004. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1635-1653, December.
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  7. Alexander Haupt & Eckhard Janeba, 2004. "Education, Redistribution, and the Threat of Brain Drain," NBER Working Papers 10618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Miyagiwa, K., 1989. "Scale Economics In Education And The Brain Drain Problem," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 89-09, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  9. 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.
  10. repec:dgr:kubcen:19958 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A & Romer, Paul M, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-55, May.
  12. Kar-yiu Wong & Chong K. Yip, 1998. "Education, Economic Growth, and Brain Drain," Working Papers 0078, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  13. John Whalley & Xian Xin, 2006. "Home and Regional Biases and Border Effects in Armington Type Models," NBER Working Papers 12439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  15. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  16. S. Bucovetsky, 2003. "Efficient Migration and Income Tax Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 249-278, 04.
  17. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  18. Berry, R Albert & Soligo, Ronald, 1969. "Some Welfare Aspects of International Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 778-94, Sept./Oct.
  19. Jones, Ronald W. & Coelho, Isaias & Easton, Stephen T., 1986. "The theory of international factor flows: The basic model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3-4), pages 313-327, May.
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