Brain drains and brain gains: causes, consequences, policy
Purpose – Highly-skilled knowledge workers make location decisions in response to many determinants. This paper seeks to focus on life-time earnings and the desire to pursue a personal research program – a life-long pursuit of interesting puzzles. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual discussion and approach are taken. Findings – The paper argues that access to personally interesting research problems and institutional support structures which allow them to be pursued should be considered alongside pure earnings factors in understanding why researchers and scientists move internationally – and why they may stay put when the economic incentives to move appear high. A nation's innovation policies can be important for influencing such workers' decisions and the impact of these policies shaped by migration flows. This little-researched connection is explored in the final, policy-oriented section. Originality/value – Provides insights on why, in a world of intensifying competition for scarce knowledge workers, countries can ill afford negative net migration of highly-skilled workers.
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