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Migration, Learning, and Development


  • Zakharenko, Roman


US-educated Indian engineers played a major role in the establishment of the “Silicon Valley of Asia” in Bangalore. The experience of India and other countries shows that returning well-educated emigrants, despite their small numbers, can make a difference. This paper builds a model of “local” knowledge spillovers, in which migration of a small number of highly skilled individuals greatly affects country-level human capital accumulation. All economic activity occurs in pairs of individuals randomly matched to each other. Each pair produces the consumption good; the skills of the two partners are complementary. At the same time, the less skilled partner increases human capital by learning from the more skilled colleague. With poor institutions at home, highly skilled individuals leave the country seeking better opportunities abroad. On the contrary, improved institutions foster return migration of emigrants who have acquired more knowledge while abroad. These return migrants greatly amplify the positive effect of better institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Zakharenko, Roman, 2007. "Migration, Learning, and Development," MPRA Paper 6262, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6262

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Pol Antràs & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 31-77.
    3. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2002. "The optimal migration duration and activity choice after re-migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 351-372, April.
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    5. Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 569-582.
    6. Dean Yang, 2006. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 715-735, November.
    7. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-176, February.
    8. Markusen, James R. & Trofimenko, Natalia, 2009. "Teaching locals new tricks: Foreign experts as a channel of knowledge transfers," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 120-131, January.
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    13. repec:hrv:faseco:4784031 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Zhao, Yaohui, 2002. "Causes and Consequences of Return Migration: Recent Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 376-394, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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