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Brain Drain and Institutions of Governance: Educational Attainment of Immigrants to the US 1988-2000


  • James T. Bang
  • Aniruddha Mitra



We use a fixed effects panel data model to investigate the impact of institutions of governance on the educational attainment of immigrants to the United States over the period 1988 – 2000. Distinguishing between the quality and stability of political institutions in the countries of origin, we find that the two characteristics of institutional structure have conflicting impacts on the nature of brain drain. Immigrants from countries with a higher quality of political institutions tend to be better educated, on the average, than immigrants from countries with institutions of lower quality. However, immigrants from countries with greater political instability tend to be better educated than immigrants from countries with more stable governments.

Suggested Citation

  • James T. Bang & Aniruddha Mitra, 2009. "Brain Drain and Institutions of Governance: Educational Attainment of Immigrants to the US 1988-2000," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0919, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0919

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 298-304, March.
    2. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 2000. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 51-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    4. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
    5. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    6. Linnea Polgreen & Nicole B. Simpson, 2006. "Recent Trends in the Skill Composition of Legal U.S. Immigrants," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 938-957, April.
    7. Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2003. "Ethnic discrimination and the migration of skilled labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 159-172, February.
    8. Christopher R. Bollinger & Barry T. Hirsch, 2006. "Match Bias from Earnings Imputation in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 483-520, July.
    9. Brati Sankar Chakraborty, 2006. "Brain drain: An alternative theorization," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 293-309.
    10. Gang, Ira N & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L, 1994. "Labor Market Effects of Immigration in the United States and Europe: Substitution vs. Complementarity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 157-175.
    11. Chiswick, Barry R. & Le, Anh T. & Miller, Paul W., 2006. "How Immigrants Fare Across the Earnings Distribution: International Analyses," IZA Discussion Papers 2405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Cohen, Yinon & Zach, Tzippi & Chiswick, Barry, 1997. "The educational attainment of immigrants: Changes over time," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 229-243.
    13. Grossman, Jean Baldwin, 1982. "The Substitutability of Natives and Immigrants in Production," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 596-603, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Beine & Khalid Sekkat, 2012. "Emigration and Origin Country’s Institutions: Does the Destination Country Matter?," Working Papers 675, Economic Research Forum, revised 2012.
    2. Michel Beine & Khalid Sekkat, 2013. "Skilled migration and the transfer of institutional norms," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-19, December.

    More about this item


    Immigration; institutions; political instability; brain drain;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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