How Big is the Brain Drain?

27 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006

See all articles by William J. Carrington

William J. Carrington

Welch Consulting

Enrica Detragiache

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - European Department

Date Written: July 1998


The brain drain from developing countries has been lamented for many years, but knowledge of the empirical magnitude of the phenomenon is scant owing to the lack of systematic data sources. This paper presents estimates of emigration rates from 61 developing countries to OECD countries for three educational categories constructed using 1990 U.S. Census data, Barro and Lee`s data set on educational attainment, and OECD migration data. Although still tentative in many respects, these estimates reveal a substantial brain drain from the Caribbean, Central America, and some African and Asian countries.

Keywords: International labor migration, brain drain, human capital

JEL Classification: F22, J61

Suggested Citation

Carrington, William J. and Detragiache, Enrica, How Big is the Brain Drain? (July 1998). Available at SSRN: or

William J. Carrington (Contact Author)

Welch Consulting

7984 Old Georgetown Rd., Suite 7C
Bethesda, MD 20814
United States
301-215-9801 (Phone)
301-215-9118 (Fax)

Enrica Detragiache

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - European Department ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics