Brain drain

2019-09-12T11:35:04Z (GMT) by Heike Jons Sophie Cranston
Brain drain is a well-established concept in migration studies. Originally coined in the 1960s, the term refers to profoundly negative effects of large-scale emigration of skilled workers, especially in low-income economies. The terminologies on brain mobility have proliferated to include notions such as brain circulation and brain chains for analysing increasingly transient and multidirectional movements of skilled people in the context of globalization. The notion of brain drain remains important for identifying uneven development through skills migration and the creation of policies and strategies for mitigating resulting detrimental effects, whether at the level of supranational regions and states, or more recently, sub-national regions, cities, places, and institutions. Global patterns of migration indicate substantial loss of talent for some countries and gain for others, whereas empirical findings on the motivations, experiences, and outcomes of brain drain, gain, and circulation paint a more nuanced picture of changing mobilities and networks. Recent conceptual debates in human geography suggest to situate brain drain within wider brain chains to provide more holistic views on skilled migrants’ journeys, from first considerations of emigration via the route taken to settlement, commuting practices, and potential return, including involved and affected people, institutions, infrastructures, and im/materialities.