The paper views migration of skills from a perspective of new industrial policy. It introduces two types of search networks: open migration chains and diaspora networks. Migration chains are sequences of educational or job opportunities which allows a migrant to move to progressively complex educational and job tasks necessary to work in the global environment. Diaspora networks are networks of diaspora members to advance their collective goals, often (but not necessarily) for the benefits of home countries. Open migration chains are functional equivalent of value chains: they emphasize upgrading of individual human capital. ‘Diaspora networks’ is about concerted action and clubs. They can be viewed as tools to upgrade open migration chains exactly the same way as a supplier development programme is a concerted action to upgrade value chains. The paper is both ambitious and humble. It is ambitiously optimistic because emerging migration ladders open an opportunity of a win-win situation; an evolving virtuous cycle of co-development of migrant human capital and home country institutions. It is humble, however, in recognizing intricacies of policy solutions to make it happen: creation of robust diaspora networks requires substantial amount of time, patience and institutional capabilities. Above all, good expatriate networks—as any search networks—tend to generate opportunities and projects but someone else has to act on those opportunities and finance the projects. Capabilities of government and private sector stakeholders remain the key: diaspora networks are no panacea.
economic development diaspora networks search networks serendipity