IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Skill-biased technological change, unemployment and brain drain

  • Harald Fadinger


    (University of Vienna)

  • Karin Mayr


    (University of Vienna)

We develop a general equilibrium model of technological change and migration to examine the effects of a change in skill endowments on wages, employment rates and emigration rates of skilled and unskilled workers. We find that, depending on the elasticity of substitution between skilled and unskilled workers, an increase in the skill ratio can increase the expected wage of the skilled and decrease the brain drain. We provide empirical estimates and simulations to support our findings and show that effects are empirically relevant and potentially sizeable. Our findings fit the stylized facts on educational upgrading in developing countries during the 1980s and the subsequent decrease in the brain drain from those countries during the 1990s.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2012011.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012011
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Drayton House, 30 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AX

Phone: +44 (0)20 7679 5888
Fax: +44 (0)20 7916 2775
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2004. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," Working Papers 184, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Acemoglu, D. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Productivity Differences," Papers 660, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Gino Gancia & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Horizontal Innovation in the Theory of Growth and Development," Working Papers 200, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Davin Chor, 2008. "Skilled and Unskilled Wages in a Globalizing World, 1968-1998," Labor Economics Working Papers 22073, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  6. Fabrizio Zilibotti & Gino Gancia, 2009. "Technological Change and the Wealth of Nations," 2009 Meeting Papers 499, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Mortensen, Dale T. & Nagypál, Éva, 2005. "More on Unemployment and Vacancy Fluctuations," IZA Discussion Papers 1765, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," 2004 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2007. "Labor Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human capital depletion, human capital formation, and migration: a blessing or a "curse"?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 363-367, September.
  11. Simon Burgess & Helene Turon, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies – A Comment," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 05/573, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  12. David de la Croix & Frederic Docquier, 2010. "Do Brain Drain and Poverty Result from Coordination Failures?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1009, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  13. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Patterns of Skill Premia," NBER Working Papers 7018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  15. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Docquier, Frédéric & Marchiori, Luca & Shen, I-Ling, 2010. "Brain drain in globalization: A general equilibrium analysis from the sending countries’ perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 7682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  18. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089.
  19. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," 2005 Meeting Papers 460, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2010. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Model with Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, April.
  21. Miyagiwa, K., 1989. "Scale Economics In Education And The Brain Drain Problem," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 89-09, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  22. 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.
  23. Gino Gancia & Andreas Müller & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2011. "Structural development accounting," ECON - Working Papers 010, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  24. de la Fuente, Angel & Doménech, Rafael, 2002. "Human Capital in Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make? An Update and Further Results," CEPR Discussion Papers 3587, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Grossmann, Volker & Stadelmann, David, 2011. "Does international mobility of high-skilled workers aggravate between-country inequality?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 88-94, May.
  26. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, . "Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries: winners and losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10415, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  27. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
  28. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2003. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Working Papers 6, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  29. Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "A Theory of Defensive Skill-based Innovation and Globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 3416, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Martin Schindler & Mariya Aleksynska, 2011. "Labor Market Regulations in Low-, Middle- and High-Income Countries; A New Panel Database," IMF Working Papers 11/154, International Monetary Fund.
  31. Diamond, Peter A, 1981. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment, and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 798-812, August.
  32. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," NBER Working Papers 7904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. 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.
  34. Michaelowa, Katharina & Waller, Marie, 2003. "Labour market outcomes of education: Evidence for selected non-OECD countries," HWWA Reports 226, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  35. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
  36. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2010. "Global Wage Inequality and the International Flow of Migrants," Working Papers 983, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Norface Migration Administrator)

or (Thomas Cornelissen)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.