The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature

Simon Commander, Mari Kangasniemi and L. Alan Winters

in Challenges to Globalization

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226036151
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226036557 | DOI:
The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon? A Survey of the Literature

Show Summary Details


This chapter has three objectives. First it attempts to take stock of our knowledge concerning the scale, composition, and direction of migration from developing to developed countries in the recent period. Second, the chapter places that mobility in the context of the existing literature. Third, it attempts to indicate ways in which, at both an analytical and empirical level, progress can be made in better understanding the phenomenon and, in particular, the appropriate policy implications. The overall conclusion is that, while there is clearly a possibility that the brain drain is beneficial to the residents left behind in the home countries, there are reasons to be suspicious of that conclusion. It is not even certain that there is an overall global-welfare gain from the brain drain, although given the apparently large private benefits of the migrants themselves and their higher productivity in their new locations, it seems highly likely. A commentary is also included at the end of the chapter.

Keywords: migration; developed countries; developing countries; mobility

Chapter.  18616 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.