Migration of the Talented: Can Europe Catch Up with the U.S.?


  • Lydia Mechtenberg, Universität Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 5, 20146 Hamburg, Germany (lydia.mechtenberg@wiso.uni-hamburg.de). Roland Strausz, Humboldt Universität Berlin. We thank Michael Burda, Volker Grossmann, Jennifer Hunt, Alexandra Spitz–Oener, and especially Silke Uebelmesser and two anonymous referees for helpful discussions and suggestions. This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through the SFB 649 “Economic Risk.”


We develop a model to analyze migration of highly talented individuals within and into Europe. First, we show that if transferability of human capital is endogenous, i.e., if high migration flows and high human capital transferability are mutually interdependent, Europe might be trapped in a low-migration equilibrium. Second, we show that high mobility within a Federation is necessary to attract highly talented immigrants into the Federation. We study in how far and in what way the European public policy behind the Bologna and the Lisbon Process can contribute to higher mobility in Europe.