Testing the 'Brain Gain' Hypothesis: Micro Evidence from Cape Verde

42 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2010

See all articles by Catia Batista

Catia Batista

Nova School of Business and Economics; CReAM; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; NOVAFRICA

Aitor Lacuesta

Banco de España

Pedro C. Vicente

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Abstract

Does emigration really drain human capital accumulation in origin countries? This paper explores a unique household survey purposely designed and conducted to answer this research question. We analyze the case of Cape Verde, a country with allegedly the highest 'brain drain' in Africa, despite a marked record of income and human capital growth in recent decades. Our micro data enables us to propose the first explicit test of 'brain gain' arguments according to which the prospects of own future migration can positively impact educational attainment. According to our results, a 10pp increase in the probability of own future migration may improve the average probability of completing intermediate secondary schooling by 8pp for individuals who do not migrate before age 16. Strikingly, this same 10pp increase may raise the probability of completing intermediate secondary schooling by 11pp for an individual whose parents were both non migrants when the educational decision was made. Our findings are robust to the choice of instruments and econometric model. Overall, we find that there may be substantial human capital gains from lowering migration barriers.

Keywords: brain drain, brain gain, international migration, human capital, effects of emigration in origin countries, household survey, Cape Verde, sub-Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: F22, J24, O12, O15

Suggested Citation

Batista, Catia and Lacuesta, Aitor and Vicente, Pedro C., Testing the 'Brain Gain' Hypothesis: Micro Evidence from Cape Verde. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5048. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1638504

Catia Batista (Contact Author)

Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Rua da Holanda, 1
Carcavelos, 2775-405
Portugal

CReAM

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/

NOVAFRICA ( email )

Nova School of Business and Economics
Rua da Holanda, 1
Carcavelos, 2775-405
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://www.novafrica.org

Aitor Lacuesta

Banco de España ( email )

Madrid 28014
Spain

Pedro C. Vicente

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

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