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The effect of occupation-specific brain drain on human capital


  • Heuer, Nina


This paper tests the hypothesis of a beneficial brain drain using occupation-specific data on migration from developing countries to OECD countries around 2000. Distinguishing between several types of human capital allows to assess whether the impact of high-skilled south-north migration on human capital in the sending economies differed across occupational groups requiring tertiary education. We find a robust negative effect of the incidence of high-skilled emigration on the level of human capital in the sending countries, thereby rejecting the hypothesis of a beneficial brain drain. The negative effect was significantly stronger for professionals - the occupational category with the largest incidence of south-north migration and the highest educational requirements - than for technicians and associate professionals.

Suggested Citation

  • Heuer, Nina, 2011. "The effect of occupation-specific brain drain on human capital," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 7, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuewef:7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Di Maria, Corrado & Lazarova, Emiliya A., 2012. "Migration, Human Capital Formation, and Growth: An Empirical Investigation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 938-955.
    2. Faini, Riccardo, 2004. "Trade Liberalization in a Globalizing World," CEPR Discussion Papers 4665, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Belmiro Cabrito & Luisa Cerdeira & Maria de Lourdes Machado-Taylor & José Tomás Patrocínio & Rui Brites & Rui Gomes & João Teixeira Lopes & Henrique Vaz & Paulo Peixoto & Dulce Magalhães & Silvia Mart, 2014. "The brain drain in Portugal: some explanatory reasons," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 9,in: Adela García Aracil & Isabel Neira Gómez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 9, edition 1, volume 9, chapter 43, pages 831-846 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.

    More about this item


    International migration; Occupation-specific brain drain; Human capital; Transferability of skills; Beneficial brain drain;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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