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Brain Drain and Brain Return: Theory and Application to Eastern-Western Europe

Recent empirical evidence seems to show that temporary migration is a widespread phenomenon, espe- cially among highly skilled workers who return to their countries of origin when these begin to grow. This paper develops a simple, tractable overlapping generations model that provides a rationale for return migra- tion and predicts who will migrate and who returns among agents with heterogeneous abilities. The model also incorporates the interaction between the migration decision and schooling: the possibility of migrating, albeit temporarily, to a country with high returns to skills produces positive schooling incentive effects. We use parameter values from the literature and data on return migration to simulate the model for the Eastern-Western European case. We then quantify the effects that increased openness (to migrants) would have on human capital and wages in Eastern Europe. We find that, for plausible values of the parameters, the possibility of return migration combined with the education incentive channel reverses the brain drain into a significant brain gain for Eastern Europe.

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Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2009-19.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2009_19
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  1. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Alexia Prskawetz, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration: A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Departmental Working Papers _096, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  2. Barrett, Alan & O'Connell, Philip, 2000. "Is There A Wage Premium for Returning Irish Migrants?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2408, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Schiff, Maurice, 2005. "Brain Gain: Claims about Its Size and Impact on Welfare and Growth Are Greatly Exaggerated," IZA Discussion Papers 1599, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Sebastian Gundel & Heiko Peters, 2008. "What determines the duration of stay of immigrants in Germany?: Evidence from a longitudinal duration analysis," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(11), pages 769-782, October.
  6. McCormick, Barry & Wahba, Jackline, 2001. "Overseas Work Experience, Savings and Entrepreneurship amongst Return Migrants to LDCs," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(2), pages 164-78, May.
  7. repec:urv:wpaper:2072/42865 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2007. "Brain Drain or Brain Gain?Micro Evidence from an African Success Story," Economics Series Working Papers 343, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Iranzo, Susana & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "Migration and trade: Theory with an application to the Eastern-Western European integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-19, September.
  10. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Rodriguez, Carlos, 1975. "Welfare-theoretical analyses of the brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 195-221, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "The Theory of 'Screening', Education, and the Distribution of Income," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 354, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. 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.
  14. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10449, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  16. Chau, Nancy H & Stark, Oded, 1999. "Migration under Asymmetric Information and Human Capital Formation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 455-83, August.
  17. Anna Iara, 2006. "Skill Diffusion by Temporary Migration? Returns to Western European Working Experience in the EU Accession Countries," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 69, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  18. Michel, BEINE & Frédéric, DOCQUIER & Hillel, RAPOPORT, 2006. "Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries : winners and losers," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006023, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  19. George J. Borjas & Bernt Bratsberg, 1994. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," NBER Working Papers 4913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Stark, Oded & Wang, Yong, 2001. "Inducing Human Capital Formation: Migration as a Substitute for Subsidies," Economics Series 100, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  21. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  22. Simon Commander & Rupa Chanda & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "The Consequences of Globalisation: India's Software Industry and Cross-border Labour Mobility -super-1 ," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 187-211, 02.
  23. Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence from the UK," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(2), pages 236-256, 06.
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