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Female Brain Drains and Women's Rights Gaps: A Gravity Model Analysis of Bilateral Migration Flows

  • Naghsh Nejad, Maryam

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Young, Andrew

    ()

    (West Virginia University)

In this paper we model the migration decisions of high-skilled women as a function of the benefits associated with moving from an origin with relatively low women's rights to a destination with a relatively high level of women's rights. However, the costs faced by women are decreasing in the level of women's rights provided. The model predicts a non-linear relationship between the relative levels of women's rights in destination versus origin countries (the women's rights gap) and the gender gap in high-skilled migration flows (the female brain drain ratio). In particular, starting from large values of the women's rights gap (where women's rights are very low in the origin) decreases in the gap may be associated with increases in the female brain drain ratio. However, starting from lower levels of the gap the relationship is positive: a greater gain in women's rights moving from origin to destination is, all else equal, associated with a greater likelihood of migration. Using a cross section of over 3,000 bilateral migration flows across OECD and non-OECD countries and the women's rights indices from the CIRI Human Rights Dataset, we report evidence consistent with the theory. A statistically significant and nonlinear relationship exists between women's rights gaps and female brain drain ratios. The evidence is particularly strong for the case of women's political rights.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8067.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8067
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  1. Thierry Baudassé & Rémi Bazillier, 2014. "Gender inequality and emigration: Push factor or selection process?," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 139, pages 19-47.
  2. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Globalization, brain drain and development," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1108, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Santos Silva, J.M.C & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2005. "The Log of Gravity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Simone Bertoli & Jesús Fernández-HuertasMoraga, 2011. "Multilateral Resistance to Migration," Working Papers 2011-04, FEDEA.
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  6. James Bang & Aniruddha Mitra, 2011. "Gender bias and the female brain drain," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(9), pages 829-833.
  7. Abu-Ghaida, Dina & Klasen, Stephan, 2004. "The Costs of Missing the Millennium Development Goal on Gender Equity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1075-1107, July.
  8. Naghsh Nejad, Maryam, 2013. "Institutionalized Inequality and Brain Drain: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Women's Rights on the Gender Gap in High-Skilled Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 7864, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Docquier, Frédéric & Marfouk, Abdeslam & Salomone, Sara & Sekkat, Khalid, 2012. "Are Skilled Women More Migratory than Skilled Men?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 251-265.
  10. Dumont, Jean-Christophe & Martin, John P. & Spielvogel, Gilles, 2007. "Women on the Move: The Neglected Gender Dimension of the Brain Drain," IZA Discussion Papers 2920, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Blackden, Mark & Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Klasen, Stephan & Lawson, David, 2006. "Gender and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: Issues and Evidence," Working Paper Series RP2006/37, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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  13. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kristin Mammen & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Women's Work and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 141-164, Fall.
  15. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Berta Esteve-Volart, 2004. "Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 42, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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