Corresponding author: David McKenzie, Development Research Group, MSN MC3-307, World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington DC, USA. Email: email@example.com.
The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries*
Version of Record online: 12 APR 2012
© 2012 The Author(s). The Economic Journal © 2012 Royal Economic Society
The Economic Journal
Special Issue: FOUNDATIONS OF REVEALED PREFERENCE
Volume 122, Issue 560, pages 339–375, May 2012
How to Cite
Gibson, J. and McKenzie, D. (2012), The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries. The Economic Journal, 122: 339–375. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0297.2012.02498.x
We thank the World Bank’s Research Support Budget, the Knowledge for Change Trust fund, the Center for Global Development and the Migration and Remittances for Development in Africa Multi-Donor Trust Fund (TF070761) for research funding for this project; Geua Boe-Gibson, ‘Alisi Katoanga, Caroline Kouassiaman, Caglar Özden, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Micronesian Seminar, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Mathematical and Chemistry Olympiad Committees, Tanorama and various alumni groups for helping put together the sample frames and contacting the individuals in our survey; Xpatulator.com for providing the cost-of-living adjustment factors; Chris Hector, Melanie Morten and Cristina Tealdi for research assistance, and the editor, two anonymous referees and seminar audiences at Adelaide, CGD, the Chianti Migration Conference, CReAM, Otago and UCLA for helpful comments. All views are of course those of the authors alone, and do not necessarily represent those of their employers or of the collaborating organisations.
- Issue online: 12 APR 2012
- Version of Record online: 12 APR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 9 FEB 2012 12:00AM EST
This article presents results of innovative surveys that tracked academic high achievers from five countries to wherever they moved in the world to directly measure at the micro level the channels through which high-skilled emigration affects sending countries. There are high levels of emigration and of return and the income gains to the best and brightest from migrating are an order of magnitude greater than any other effect. Most high-skilled migrants from poorer countries remit but involvement in trade and foreign direct investment is rare. Fiscal costs vary widely but are much less than the benefits to the migrants themselves.