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Italian Researchers Abroad: a Multivariate Analysis of Migration Trends

Simona Monteleone and Benedetto Torrisi

Rivista italiana degli economisti, 2012, issue 1, 101-128

Abstract: Few empirical studies have sought to ascertain the propensity with which Italian researchers return to Italy after a period spent abroad. Research into this question mainly draws on generalized databases (macro data), often with only dichotomous variables (returns vs. does not return). The main objective of the paper is to fill the information gap and to create a database of contacts of Italian researchers abroad, with a view to studying the brain drain in Italy and the propensity to return to the country of origin after a period spent abroad. Our main finding is that the propensity of Italian researchers to return to Italy is very low. This result is crucial to identify the effects of the brain drain in Italy: if the high-skilled migrant does not wish to return to his/her country of origin after acquiring knowhow abroad, migration effects are very likely to be detrimental to Italy's economic and social growth. This finding leads into important policy implications: the Italian brain drain is not only due to wage differences offered by other countries, but it is caused by employment difficulties and other factors characterizing the job market and the Italian university system. It is not enough to carry out a salary review: an appropriate solution needs to be created to attract researchers and convert the brain drain into a brain exchange

Keywords: Brain Drain; Sample Survey; GRM; Multivariate Analysis. JEL classification: F22; J24. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/36441:y:2012:i:1:p:101-128