The Determinants of Highly Skilled Migration: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980–2005

Herbert Brücker, Simone Bertoli, Giovanni Facchini, Anna Maria Mayda and Giovanni Peri

in Brain Drain and Brain Gain

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742095 | DOI:
The Determinants of Highly Skilled Migration: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980–2005

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The goal of this chapter is to analyse how geographical, legal, institutional, and economic factors affect the scale of immigration and the skill composition of the immigrant population. A multivariate analysis allows the isolation of the effects of different immigration policies. Focusing on the receiving countries, it is found that the wage premium for education strongly increases the share of the highly skilled in the immigrant population and is thus the main economic factor that affects the skill composition of this group. Similarly, changes in the immigration legislation which favour highly skilled immigrants and R&D expenditure have a positive impact on selecting the highly educated. Generous welfare benefits and labour market regulations, like stronger employment protection, also increase the total inflow of migrants including the highly skilled, but reduce the favourable skill‐selectivity of the immigrant population.

Keywords: migration; highly skilled migrants; determinants of migration; selective migration policy; immigration legislation; receiving countries; welfare system; employment protection

Chapter.  11764 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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