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The Elite Brain Drain

40 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2009  

Rosalind Hunter

University of Warwick

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bruce Charlton

University of Newcastle (Australia)

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Abstract

We collect data on the movement and productivity of elite scientists. Their mobility is remarkable: nearly half of the world's most-cited physicists work outside their country of birth. We show they migrate systematically towards nations with large R&D spending. Our study cannot adjudicate on whether migration improves scientists' productivity, but we find that movers and stayers have identical h-index citations scores. Immigrants in the UK and US now win Nobel Prizes proportionately less often than earlier. US residents' h-indexes are relatively high. We describe a framework where a key role is played by low mobility costs in the modern world.

Keywords: brain drain, science, mobility, citations

JEL Classification: O3, J6

Suggested Citation

Hunter, Rosalind and Oswald, Andrew J. and Charlton, Bruce, The Elite Brain Drain. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1351169

Rosalind Hunter (Contact Author)

University of Warwick

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bruce Charlton

University of Newcastle (Australia) ( email )

University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia

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