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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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  1. 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.
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  8. 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.
  9. Stark, Oded, 2003. "Rethinking The Brain Drain," Discussion Papers 18770, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
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  13. Miyagiwa, Kaz, 1991. "Scale Economies in Education and the Brain Drain Problem," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 743-59, August.
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  19. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
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  21. 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.
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  24. 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.
  25. Faini, Riccardo, 2003. "Is the Brain Drain an Unmitigated Blessing?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  26. Dilek Cinar & Frédéric Docquier, 2004. "Brain drain and Remittances: implications for the source country," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(1), pages 103-118.
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