Can Brain Drain Justify Immigration Restrictions?

30 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2012 Last revised: 1 May 2016

See all articles by Kieran Oberman

Kieran Oberman

University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Science

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

This article considers one seemingly compelling justification for immigration restrictions: that they help restrict the brain drain of skilled workers from poor states. For some poor states, brain drain is a severe problem, sapping their ability to provide basic services. Yet this article finds that justifying immigration restrictions on brain drain grounds is far from straightforward. For restrictions to be justified, a series of demanding conditions must be fulfilled. Brain drain does provide a successful argument for some immigration restrictions, but it is an argument that fails to justify restrictions beyond a small minority of cases.

Keywords: brain drain, immigration, global poverty, freedom of movement

Suggested Citation

Oberman, Kieran, Can Brain Drain Justify Immigration Restrictions? (2013). Ethics, Vol. 123, No. 3, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164893 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2164893

Kieran Oberman (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Science ( email )

Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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