Some development effects of the international migration of highly skilled persons


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Author: Lowell, B. Lindsay

Corporate author:

Great Britain. Department for International Development (DFID); International Labour Office. Social Protection Sector. International Migration Branch


This paper reviews the extent to which highly (tertiary) educated emigrants from developing countries represent an economic loss or 'brain drain'. (1) It systematically reviews available data on international mobility, (2) then it examines the economic analysis of direct effects of brain drain on economic development, and it (3) finishes the review by considering the major favourable feedback effects generated by high skilled emigration. Ultimately, the empirical literature on the brain drain is disappointing in the sense that much of it depends upon the assumptions of theoretical,...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Migration; Policy; Statistics; Employment; Labour market; Economics; Research

Keywords: Emigration; Skilled migration; Data analysis; Skilled worker; Labour mobility; Economic development; Economic impact; Measurement

Published: Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office, 2002

Physical description: v, 35 p.

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Statement of responsibility: B. Lindsay Lowell

On cover: International Migration Programme
A complete set of reports from this project is listed on the ILO website at:

Resource type: Report, paper or authored book

Document number: TD/TNC 86.116

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