We present an empirical evaluation of the growth effects of the brain drain for the source countries of migrants. Using recent US data on migration rates by education levels (Carrington and Detragiache, 1998), we find empirical support for the ?beneficial brain drain hypothesis? in a cross-section of 50 developing countries. At the country-level, we find that most countries combining low levels of human capital and low migration rates of skilled workers tend to be positively affected by the brain drain. By contrast, the brain drain appears to have negative growth effects in countries where the migration rate of the highly educated is above 20% and/or where the proportion of people with higher education is above 5%. While the number of winners is smaller, these include nearly 80% of the total population of the sample.
brain drain migration growth human capital formation immigration policy