The determinants of brain drain in developing countries

Abubakar Lawan Ngoma (School of Graduate Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia)
Normaz Wana Ismail (Department of Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 28 June 2013



Skilled migrant workers move relatively in unidirectional form (from developing to developed countries) in response to many factors. The purpose of this paper is to examine some factors that influence skilled migration to such preferred locations among skilled workers.


Both conceptual discussion and analytical approach are used.


The authors' econometric model identified an inverted U‐shaped relationship between skilled migration rates, wage differentials and income convergence with destination countries. Other factors found to be significantly related to brain drain are population size, domestic political instability and distance to destination countries.


This paper presents insights on factors influencing migration decisions among skilled migrants and why skilled workers' migration from developing countries remains on the increase over the years, despite the urgent need for highly skilled personnel in most of these countries.



Lawan Ngoma, A. and Wana Ismail, N. (2013), "The determinants of brain drain in developing countries", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 40 No. 8, pp. 744-754.

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