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Brain Drain, Educational Quality and Immigration Policy: Impact on Productive Human Capital in Source and Host Countries, with Canada as a Case Study


  • Schiff, Maurice

    () (World Bank)


With the 1967 reform, Canada's immigration policy changed from a country-preference system to a points system. The latter provides points according to applicants' education level but abstracts from the quality of their education. This paper considers the points system, the country-preference system, as well as a system that includes both educational quantity and quality and is termed the "?2 points system." It focuses on the policies' impact on immigrants' average productive human capital – the product of educational quality and quantity – or skill level, ?? (for policy ?). It shows, among others, that i) ?? is greater under the ?2 system than under the points system (?? > ??); ii) a switch from a points system to a ?2 system results in a human capital gain or net brain gain for Country 1 (the high-education quality country) and a loss or net brain drain for Country 2; iii) ?? is greater under the country-preference system than under the points system (?? > ??); iv) whether ?? is greater under ?2 or the country-preference system is ambiguous, with ?? >(

Suggested Citation

  • Schiff, Maurice, 2014. "Brain Drain, Educational Quality and Immigration Policy: Impact on Productive Human Capital in Source and Host Countries, with Canada as a Case Study," IZA Discussion Papers 7955, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7955

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Commander & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature," NBER Chapters,in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 235-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Abdurrahman Aydemir, 2011. "Immigrant selection and short-term labor market outcomes by visa category," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 451-475, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Alan G. Green & David A. Green, 1995. "Canadian Immigration Policy: The Effectiveness of the Point System and Other Instruments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4b), pages 1006-1041, November.
    5. repec:adr:anecst:y:2010:i:97-98:p:01 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hubert Jayet & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Migration and Development: New Insights," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 5-12.
    7. Serge Coulombe & Gilles Grenier & Serge Nadeau, 2012. "Human Capital Quality and the Immigrant Wage Gap," Working Papers 1212E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    points system; country-preference system; education quantity-quality system; Canadian immigration policy; human capital impact;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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