A Panel Data Analysis of the Brain Gain

Michel Beine*, Frédéric Docquier, Cecily Oden-Defoort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we revisit the impact of skilled emigration on human capital accumulation using new panel data covering 147 countries during the period 1975-2000. We derive testable predictions from a stylized theoretical model and test them in dynamic regression models. Our empirical analysis predicts conditional convergence of human capital indicators. Our findings also reveal that skilled migration prospects foster human capital accumulation in low-income countries. In these countries, a net brain gain can be obtained if the skilled emigration rate is not too large (i.e., it does not exceed 20-30% depending on other country characteristics). In contrast, we find no evidence of a significant incentive mechanism in middle-income, and not surprisingly, high-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-532
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Brain drain
  • Convergence
  • Human capital


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