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The Elite Brain Drain

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bruce Charlton


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We collect data on the movement and productivity of elite scientists. Their mobility is remarkable: nearly half of the world's most-cited physicists work outside their country of birth. We show they migrate systematically towards nations with large R & D spending. Our study cannot adjudicate on whether migration improves scientists' productivity, but we find that movers and stayers have identical h-index citations scores. Immigrants in the UK and US now win Nobel Prizes proportionately less often than earlier. US residents' h-indexes are relatively high. We describe a framework where a key role is played by low mobility costs in the modern world.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hunter RS, Oswald AJ, Charlton BG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Economic Journal

Year: 2009

Volume: 119

Issue: 538

Pages: F231-F251

ISSN (print): 0013-0133

ISSN (electronic): 1468-0297

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02274.x


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