Scientific Brain Drain and Human Capital Formation After the End of the Soviet Union


  • Ina Ganguli

    1. SITE, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm
    2. The Center for International Development and Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
    3. Centre of Migration Research, The University of Warsaw, Warsaw
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This article provides new empirical evidence on the impact of emigration on human capital formation by drawing upon the exodus of Russian scientists after the end of the Soviet Union. I create a novel panel data set based on scientific publications to identify former Soviet scientist émigrés and official Russian statistics on the production of PhDs aggregated at the regional and scientific field levels. I show that the emigration of scientists in the post-Soviet period is associated with lower production of PhDs measured by admissions, graduates, and the number of students. The results suggest that emigration is not increasing investment in human capital at the PhD level. Possible explanations are that there is a lack of mentors to train the next generation of PhD students and that émigrés are acting as a channel for the younger generation to pursue PhD studies abroad.