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

  • Batista, Catia

    ()

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Lacuesta, Aitor

    ()

    (Bank of Spain)

  • Vicente, Pedro C.

    ()

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

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 may improve the average probability of completing intermediate secondary schooling by 8pp for individuals who do not migrate before age 16. Strikingly, this same 10pp increase may raise the probability of completing intermediate secondary schooling by 11pp for an individual whose parents were both non migrants when the educational decision was made. 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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5048.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2012, 97 (1), 32-45
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5048
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  1. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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).
  3. Michéle V.K. Belot & Timothy J. Hatton, 2008. "Immigrant Selection in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 571, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. 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.
  5. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Faini, Riccardo, 2006. "Remittances and the Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 2155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  10. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 465-486, 09.
  14. 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.
  15. McKenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2006. "Can migration reduce educational attainment ? Evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3952, The World Bank.
  16. 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.
  17. Aitor Lacuesta, 2006. "Emigration and human capital: who leaves, who comes back and what difference does it make?," Working Papers 0620, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  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. Gordon H Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2010. "The Great Mexican Emigration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 798-810, November.
  20. 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).
  21. Randall Akee, 2010. "Who Leaves? Deciphering Immigrant Self-Selection from a Developing Country," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 323-344, 01.
  22. Mallar, Charles D, 1977. "The Estimation of Simultaneous Probability Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1717-22, October.
  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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