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Measuring the international mobility of skilled workers (1990-2000) : release 1.0

  • Docquier, Frederic
  • Marfouk, Abdeslam

Until recently, there has been no systematic empirical assessment of the economic impact of the brain drain. Despite many case studies and anecdotal evidence, the main reason for this seems to be the lack of harmonized international data on migration by country of origin and education level. An exception is the paper by Carrington and Detragiache (1998), which provided skilled migration rates for 61 developing countries in 1990. This study relies on a set of tentative assumptions. For example, they transpose the skill structure of U.S. immigrants on the OECD total immigration stock. In this paper, the authors provide new estimates of skilled workers'emigration rates for about 190 countries in 2000 and 170 countries in 1990, in both developing and industrial countries. Using various statistical sources, they revisit Carrington and Detragiache's measures by incorporating information on immigrants'educational attainment and country of origin from almost all OECD countries. The set of receiving countries is restricted to OECD nations. The authors'database covers 92.7 percent of the OECD immigration stock. In absolute terms, the authors show that the largest numbers of highly educated migrants are from Europe, Southern and Eastern Asia, and, to a lesser extent, from Central America. Nevertheless, as a proportion of the potential educated labor force, the highest brain drain rates are observed in the Caribbean, Central America, and Western and Eastern Africa. Repeating the exercise for 1990 and 2000 allows the authors to evaluate the changes in brain drain intensity. Western Africa, Eastern Africa, and Central America experienced a remarkable increase in the brain drain during the past decade. The database delivers information that is rich enough to assess the changes in the international distribution of migration rates, to test for the (push and pull) determinants per skill group, to evaluate the growth effects of migration on source and destination countries, and to estimate the relationships between migration, trade, foreign research and development, and remittances.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3381.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3381
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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2001. "The Optimal Migration Duration and Activity Choice after Re-migration," IZA Discussion Papers 266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Thomas Bauer & Astrid Kunze, 2003. "The Demand for High-skilled Worker and Immigration Policy," RWI Discussion Papers 0011, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  3. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, . "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-26, Claremont Colleges.
  4. 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.
  5. Kwok, Viem & Leland, Hayne, 1982. "An Economic Model of the Brain Drain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 91-100, March.
  6. Funkhouser, Edward, 1995. "Remittances from International Migration: A Comparison of El Salvador and Nicaragua," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 137-46, February.
  7. Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2003. "International migration, remittances, and the brain drain ; a study of 24 labor exporting countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3069, The World Bank.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Miyagiwa, K., 1989. "Scale Economics In Education And The Brain Drain Problem," Working Papers 89-09, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 541-63, July.
  13. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Prskawetz, Alexia, 1997. "A Brain Gain with a Brain Drain," Economics Series 45, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  14. Manon Domingues Dos Santos & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2003. "Migration as a source of growth: The perspective of a developing country," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 161-175, 02.
  15. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Mesnard, Alice & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Wealth Distribution and Self-Employment in a Developing Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Freeman, Richard B., 1993. "Immigration from poor to wealthy countries : Experience of the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 443-451, April.
  18. Simon Commander & Mari Kangasniemi & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "The brain drain: a review of theory and facts," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(1), pages 29-44.
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