The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Brain Drain

  • Frédéric Docquier
  • Hillel Rapoport
Reference work entry


The term ‘brain drain’ designates the international transfer of human resources and mainly applies to the migration of relatively highly educated individuals from developing to developed countries. While the brain drain has long been viewed as detrimental to poor countries’ growth potential, recent economic research emphasizes a number of positive feedback effects arising from skilled migrants’ participation in business networks, and suggests that under certain conditions the prospect of migration can positively affect human capital accumulation in the source countries.


Altruism Brain drain Diaspora networks Education Externality Foreign direct investment Human capital Information costs International migration Remittances Transaction costs Transfer of technology Wage differentials 

JEL Classifications

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Docquier
    • 1
  • Hillel Rapoport
    • 1
  1. 1.