Country Risks and Brain Drain: The Emigration Potential of Japanese Skilled Workers
Social Science Japan Journal, Vol. 25, Issue 1, pp. 55-82, Winter 2022
53 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020 Last revised: 15 Jun 2022
Date Written: August 7, 2021
While most existing research attributes contemporary Japanese emigration to the pursuit of a better lifestyle, recent qualitative studies point out that concern about country risks is a significant driver. We explore Japan’s brain-drain potential and factors shaping Japanese skilled workers’ interest in emigrating to other countries based on our original survey with an experimental component. We first undertake descriptive analysis using respondents in the (baseline) control group and examine what types of Japanese skilled workers are interested in emigration. We then use respondents in the control and treatment groups to test our pre-registered hypotheses regarding the impact of information about Japan’s country risks on their attitudes. The results of our descriptive analysis show that respondents with overseas experience and younger respondents are particularly motivated to consider emigration. Another notable finding is that respondents who distrust the government and media are also more likely to consider leaving Japan than those who do not. Furthermore, through our randomized survey experiment, we find that exposure to information about long-term economic risk encourages people to consider living abroad in the future. These results suggest that the brain drain from Japan is likely to continue, pointing to a need for policy actions to tackle it.
Keywords: migration, emigration, skilled workers, country risks, brain drain, Japan
JEL Classification: H31, I31, J61, J81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation