The effect of emigration on human capital formation

J Popul Econ. 1998;11(4):589-600. doi: 10.1007/s001480050086.


PIP: It is often argued that labor migration has an adverse effect upon the source country. However, Mountford and Stark et al. in 1997, challenged that position and demonstrated the possibility of a brain drain with a brain gain. These researchers emphasized the incentives for human capital formation in the source country. Higher returns to skill in a foreign country impinge upon human capital formation at home. This paper rests upon the same economic grounds and focuses upon the dynamic consequences of labor emigration upon human capital formation and economic growth. It contributes to the international migration literature and the human capital and growth literature. Emigration to a higher returns to skill country provides an incentive to invest in human capital. The level of human capital formation in the source country can therefore be positively correlated with the probability of emigration. A surge in emigration can lead the source country out of an underdevelopment trap. The implications of the model for the convergence controversy are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Demography
  • Economics*
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Employment
  • Health Workforce
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Research
  • Transients and Migrants*