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Skilled migration and growth. Testing brain drain and brain gain theories

The economic effects of the migration of skilled workers from developing countries are highly controversial in the theoretical literature. Traditional models on the brain drain phenomenon stress the negative impact on growth, while new models introduce the possibility of a brain gain for labor exporting economies through indirect channels (i.e. increased incentives for those individuals left behind to accumulate human capital), or direct channels (such as remittances, return migration or FDI and trade linkages). Using a new dataset on the educational level of the migration workforce into the OECD, we test the hypothesis of brain gain estimating a growth equation and a human capital equation. We reject the hypothesis of brain gain in all the cases. The results confirm that countries which export high skilled labor to rich economies tend to have a lower level of human capital and, hence, worse economic performance.

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Paper provided by Universitat de les Illes Balears, Departament d'Economía Aplicada in its series DEA Working Papers with number 20.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ubi:deawps:20
Contact details of provider: Postal: Edificio Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, Crta. de Valldemossa km 7,5, Palma 07122 (BALEARS)
Web page: http://www.uib.es/depart/deaweb/

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  8. Jong-Wha Lee & Robert J. Barro, 1997. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 6198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Schiff, Maurice, 2005. "Brain gain : claims about its size and impact on welfare and growth are greatly exaggerated," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3708, The World Bank.
  10. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1998. "Human Capital Depletion, Human Capital Formation, and Migration. A Blessing in a "Curse"?," Economics Series 55, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  11. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Skilled migration: the perspective of developing countries," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0710, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  12. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2002. "Brain Drain and LDCs' Growth: Winners and Losers," Working Papers 2002-08, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  15. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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