European Brain Drain: What Do the American Statistics Tell Us?
Anxieties are often expressed in Europe about the risk of a “brain drain” to foreign countries, in particular to the United States. If we look at the American censuses from 1980 to 2006, we can observe the phenomenon, by distinguishing the successive cohorts of migrants originating from different European countries. Overall, the number of European expatriates increases, but remains small. However, the emigration is selective. The expatriate population is particularly well educated and this selectivity is higher for the most recent cohorts of emigrants. Furthermore, these cohorts include a larger proportion of engineers, researchers and academics than the previous ones, the very people whose qualifications correspond to the innovation activities targeted by the Lisbon Strategy. It is this increasing quality of the expatriates that should alarm us.
Brain drain; human capital; knowledge economy; Europe/US
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