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Human capital flight and growth in developing countries

The author challenges the assumption that the emigration of highly skilled people is detrimental to their country of origin, and suggests that some developing countries — if not the majority of them — have in fact benefitted from this brain drain. He explains that the main reason for this is that migration prospects increase the expected return to education and, hence, foster domestic enrollment in education.

This concise article gives a brief overview of the current status of the brain drain, the feedback effects of this migration. It then asks whether there is an "optimal" brain drain, such that a country's stock of human capital can actually be increased. The author suggests that this could be achieved by designing specific incentives to return migration to those countries negatively affected by the brain drain, and to promote international cooperation aimed at furthering brain circulation.

 

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