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

Author

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  • Naghsh Nejad, Maryam

    (University of Technology, Sydney)

  • Young, Andrew T.

    (West Virginia University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Naghsh Nejad, Maryam & Young, Andrew T., 2014. "Female Brain Drains and Women's Rights Gaps: A Gravity Model Analysis of Bilateral Migration Flows," IZA Discussion Papers 8067, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8067
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael A. Clemens, 2016. "Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 37(7), pages 1227-1248, October.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2016. "Global Talent Flows," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 83-106, Fall.
    3. Ruyssen, Ilse & Salomone, Sara, 2018. "Female migration: A way out of discrimination?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 224-241.
    4. Neumayer Eric & Plümper Thomas, 2021. "Women’s economic rights in developing countries and the gender gap in migration to Germany," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Nejad, Maryam Naghsh & Young, Andrew T., 2016. "Want freedom, will travel: Emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 71-84.
    6. repec:zbw:bofrdp:2017_002 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. William R. Kerr, 2020. "The Gift of Global Talent: Innovation Policy and the Economy," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-37.
    8. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2017. "High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 201-234, September.
    9. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2016. "Global Talent Flows," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 83-106, Fall.
    10. Ferrant, Gaëlle & Tuccio, Michele, 2015. "South–South Migration and Discrimination Against Women in Social Institutions: A Two-way Relationship," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 240-254.
    11. Lee, Taehoon & Peri, Giovanni & Viarengo, Martina, 2022. "The gender aspect of migrants’ assimilation in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    12. Thierry Baudassé & Rémi Bazillier & Ismaël Issifou, 2018. "Migration And Institutions: Exit And Voice (From Abroad)?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 727-766, July.
    13. Elveren, Adem Yavuz & Toksöz, Gülay, 2017. "Why Don’t Highly Skilled Women Want to Return? Turkey’s Brain Drain from a Gender Perspective," MPRA Paper 80290, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Sara Salomone, 2015. "Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. Political Empowerment?The case of Female Political Empowerment," Working Papers 2015:19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    15. Ardiana Gashi & Artane Rizvanolli & Nick Adnett, 2019. "Bucking the Trend: Female Labor Market Participation in Kosovo," Croatian Economic Survey, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, vol. 21(2), pages 85-116, December.
    16. Richa Richa & Ilan Noy & Subir Sen, 2024. "Extreme Weather and Inter-State Migration in India," CESifo Working Paper Series 10919, CESifo.
    17. Schylar Brock & Beatriz Maldonado, 2017. "Women’s rights and the patterns of migration," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 20-27.
    18. repec:zbw:bofrdp:2017_007 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William Kerr & Çağlar Özden & Christopher Parsons, 2017. "High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 201-234, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    female brain drain; high skilled female migration; bilateral migration flows; women's rights; institutional quality; gravity models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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