SESRIC - Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries

The Plight of Human Capital Flight in OIC Countries
Date : 22 December 2014

OIC countries face multiple challenges in achieving their development goals and reducing the gap with developed countries; one of the main challenges is the plight of human capital flight or what is known as brain drain. Brain drain serves to divest OIC countries from one of their most important resources which is skilled human capital.

The mechanism by which brain drain prevents a country from achieving its development goals can be explained by the vicious cycle concept. De la Croix & Docquier (2012) point out that if real wages in the home country are low compared to the real wages abroad, then this provides impetus for highly skilled people to emigrate. Based on this we can describe the vicious cycle as follows: the development level in OIC countries is lower than developed countries; therefore, wages earned by skilled workers in OIC countries are less than the wages they can earn in developed countries thus driving many skilled works to emigrate. The loss of skilled workers hinders the development and productivity of OIC countries thus exerting downward pressure on wages which in turn leads to more emigration of skilled workers and so on. The vicious cycle just described is not a pure intuitional one, but one that is supported by the work of Bénassy & Brezis (2013) who linked development traps to brain drain.

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