Brain drain and human capital formation in developing countries

Winners and losers

Michel Beine*, Fréderic Docquier, Hillel Rapoport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

366 Citations (Scopus)


Using new data on emigration rates by education level, we examine the impact of brain drain migration on human capital formation in developing countries. We find evidence of a positive effect of skilled migration prospects on gross human capital formation in a cross-section of 127 countries. For each country of the sample we then estimate the net effect of the brain drain using counterfactual simulations. Countries combining relatively low levels of human capital and low emigration rates are shown to experience a 'beneficial brain drain', and conversely, there are more losers than winners, and the former tend to lose relatively more than what the latter gain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-652
Number of pages22
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number528
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

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