DP6717 Brain Drained: A Tale of Two Countries

Author(s): Dan Ben-David
Publication Date: February 2008
Keyword(s): brain drain, higher education, migration
JEL(s): A11, F22, H52, H83, I23, J31, J61, O15
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, Labour Economics, Public Economics, International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6717

This paper provides a comparative examination of how public universities in two countries, the United States and Israel, have evolved over the past few decades - and how differences between the two have culminated in a rate of academic brain drain from the latter to the former that is unparalleled in the western world. The number of Israelis in the top 40 American departments in physics, chemistry, philosophy, computer science and economics, as a percentage of their remaining colleagues in Israel, is over twice the overall academic emigration rates (at all levels) from European countries. Signs of what is currently occurring in Israel have already begun to appear in other developed countries as well, though on a completely different scale - still - making the country an important case study that other countries should study, understand and prepare against a similar eventuality.