The International Migration of Knowledge Workers: When is Brain Drain Beneficial?

25 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2007

See all articles by Peter Kuhn

Peter Kuhn

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Carol McAusland

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

We consider the welfare effects of the emigration of workers who produce a public good (knowledge). We distinguish between the knowledge diversion and knowledge creation effects of such emigration, and show that the remaining residents of a country can gain from emigration, even when tastes for knowledge goods exhibit a kind of "home bias." In contrast to existing models of beneficial brain drain (BBD), our results do not require agglomeration economies, education-related externalities, remittances, return migration, or an emigration lottery. Instead, they are driven purely by the public nature of knowledge goods, combined with differences in market size that induce greater knowledge creation by emigrants abroad than at home. BBD is even more likely in the presence of weak sending-country intellectual property rights (IPRs), or when source country IPR policy is endogenized.

Keywords: brain drain, international migration, international factor mobility, knowledge workers, intellectual property rights

JEL Classification: F22, J61

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Peter J. and McAusland, Carol, The International Migration of Knowledge Workers: When is Brain Drain Beneficial? (December 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2493. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=955801

Peter J. Kuhn (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

North Hall 3036
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Carol McAusland

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

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Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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