Brain drain and brain gain: The global competition to attract high-skilled migrants

Tito Boeri (Editor), Herbert Brücker (Editor), Frédéric Docquier (Editor), Hillel Rapoport (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

133 Scopus citations


This volume reviews the most recent research on brain drain and brain gain, producing new original results by the means of data sources specifically assembled for this study, and addressing several key policy issues. Part I focuses on brain gain, that is, it takes the standpoint of the recipient country. The first section provides an overview of skill selective immigration policies in the main destination countries and of the major shifts in these policies which have been recently observed. It also documents the strong economic gains from immigration of highly skilled migrants. But what drives the decisions of highly skilled migrants as to where to locate? The econometric analyses performed by the authors indicate that it is mainly the labour market that is key to attracting talent, wage premia on education in particular. R&D spending also induces greater inflows of highly skilled migrants, while generous welfare benefits and strict employment protection end up attracting more unskilled workers. Part II is devoted to the consequences of brain drain, taking the point of view of the sending country. This second section provides for the first time a measure of the net global impact of the brain drain on sending countries. The results indicate that most developing countries experience a net gain from skilled emigration. Adverse overall impacts are found to be limited only to a subset of countries exhibiting very high skilled emigration rates. A number of policy recommendations are also offered to increase the benefits of brain drain.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)9780191742095
ISBN (Print)9780199654826
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2012


  • Brain drain
  • Brain gain
  • Determinants of migration
  • Diaspora externalities
  • Highly skilled migrants
  • Migration
  • Migration trends
  • Return migration
  • Selective migration Policy


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