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On the Robustness of Brain Gain Estimates

  • Beine, Michel


    (University of Luxembourg)

  • Docquier, Frédéric


    (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Rapoport, Hillel


    (Paris School of Economics)

Recent theoretical studies suggest that migration prospects can raise the expected return to human capital and thus foster education investment at home or, in other words, induce a brain gain. In a recent paper (Beine, Docquier and Rapoport, Economic Journal, 2008) we used the Docquier and Marfouk (2006) data set on emigration rates by education level to examine the impact of brain drain migration on gross (pre-migration) human capital formation in developing countries. We found a positive effect of skilled migration prospects on human capital growth in a cross-section of 127 developing countries, with an elasticity of about 5 percent. In this paper we assess the robustness of our results to the use of alternative brain drain measures, definitions of human capital, and functional forms. We find that the results hold using the Beine et al. (2007) alternative brain drain measures controlling for whether migrants acquired their skills in the home or in the host country. We also regress other indicators of human capital investment on skilled migration rates and find a positive effect on youth literacy while the effect on school enrolment depends on the exact specification chosen.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4293.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, 2010, 97/98, 143 - 166
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4293
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  1. 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, 04.
  2. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1995. "Stabilization Policy, Learning by Doing, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  6. Docquier, Frédéric & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Skilled Migration: The Perspective of Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2873, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2004. "Externalities and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  9. Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1997. "Transfers, Social Safety Nets, and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 81-102, March.
  10. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Ethnic Discrimination and the Migration of Skilled Labor," Working Papers 2001-19, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1203-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  13. repec:adr:anecst:y:2003:i:71-72:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Measuring international skilled migration: a new database controlling for age of entry," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10411, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. 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.
  16. Abigail Barr, 1995. "The missing factor: entrepreneurial networks, enterprises and economic growth in Ghana," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1995-11, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  18. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration. A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Economics Series 55, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  19. Ravi Kanbur & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Migration Selectivity and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality," Working Papers 2004-04, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  20. Faini, Riccardo, 2003. "Is the Brain Drain an Unmitigated Blessing?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  21. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 1999. "Fuite des cerveaux et formation de capital humain," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 79, pages 63-72.
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