Brain drain is a colloquial reference that refers to a significant emigration of highly educated or highly skilled individuals. Talented citizens will leave one country to move to a more favorable location with better employment or education opportunities. The relocating citizens will often experience better education, better pay, more benefits, or potential for upward mobility within their designated industry. As a result, the emigrating citizens usually experience a higher standard of living and can better contribute to their organization or university. Brain drain is not a new phenomenon and has been recorded for centuries worldwide, as talented individuals will migrate to more favorable countries that better appreciate and reward their skill set.
There is some debate surrounding the end result of the brain drain phenomenon. Some scientists argue that the brain drain is mainly detrimental to the country losing its best and brightest citizens. The only country that benefits is the brain gain country, where the people decide to relocate. While this may be true in some case studies, more recent research has proven an overall positive effect for both the brain drain and the brain gain countries involved.
Studies surrounding Filipino nurses leaving their native country to work in North America reported a higher standard of living in the United States and also a higher standard in the Philippines. The highly skilled nurses were emigrating for high-demand jobs, which led to increased human capital in the Philippines. Nurses leaving ended up creating a net benefit to the country. Another recent study observed highly skilled information technology professionals from India migrating to the United States. Many Indian workers experienced a high standard of living while on their H-1B visa in the US but moved back to India once the visa expired. The influx of experienced IT professionals returning to India resulted in a boom in IT-related companies within India, thus bettering the original brain drain country. The ultimate net effect of brain gain or brain drain country entirely depends on the number of citizens migrating, the level of development they are leaving, and the overall population size of the brain drain country.
Brain drain can happen in any country, but usually, it is isolated to smaller countries with a lower population. These countries tend to have fewer local opportunities for education and advancement. Some typical countries to experience brain drain include countries in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. Other countries to experience brain drain include Korea, the Philippines, Iran, and Taiwan Province of China.
Brain Drain Score
|Sao Tome and Principe||7.6|
|Trinidad and Tobago||6.9|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||6.8|
|Republic of the Congo||6.5|
|Central African Republic||6.5|
|Papua New Guinea||6.2|
|Antigua and Barbuda||6.0|
|United Arab Emirates||2.2|
Smaller countries in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean are experiencing brain drain, as are Korea, the Philippines, Iran, and Taiwan.