The Impact of Brain Drain

Tanumay Mal
3 min readMay 7, 2021

The economies of developing countries face many hurdles and Brain Drain is one of them. Today everybody wants to have a good, fast and advanced lifestyle. These standards of life attract people in developed nations from the developing nations causing a loss in the human capital of developing nations. Brain Drain, Human Capital Flight or ideally called the emigration of individuals can be a major obstacle in the path of development for developing nations. Development can be specifically obstructed by the outflow of professionals in agriculture, health and education.

Causes of Brain Drain
Before discussing the effects, it is important to know about the causes of it. There are different causes of brain drain, however they vary depending on the country experiencing it. Political turmoil, narrow access to health care, inferior quality of life and paucity of economic opportunities are the major causes of brain drain.

Negative Impacts
According to the economists, it is generally concluded that brain drain has more negative effects on developing nations than positive effects. Brain drain allows the development of individuals but restricts the growth in the economic sphere of the nation. Following are the negative impacts of brain drain:

1) Increased stagnation of high schooling

2) Fiscal burden on the country of origin as it lags behind the skills of a publicly trained and educated workforce

3) Increased inequality and poverty

4) Loss of potential future entrepreneurs

5) Loss of tax revenue

6) Loss in education investment of the country

7) Political instability and religious persecution

8) Lack of industrial growth and innovation

9) Lack of skilled workforce

These are some negative impacts of brain drain on the developing nations which may lower the rate of development. However, these have always been hotly debated as the critics and supporters come up with new justifications.

Positive Impacts
Brain drain may be seen as a drawback for the country of origin but it has been seen as beneficial on the global level. Brain drain gives a boost to globalization through exchange of ideas and networks, giving birth to better innovation. Let’s take a look at the positive impacts of brain drain:

1. People learn new skills : When people move to developed countries from developing countries they learn new skills. This is beneficial as they can come back and utilize their skills in their own country to produce better output in their respective fields.

2. Remittances : When the migrants send the money back to their home country, this can help stimulate the country’s economic growth.

3. Transnational corporation and increase in Foreign Direct Investment : The FDI is expected to increase substantially.

How can the balance be maintained between the developed and developing countries?

With time, new migration policies have evolved. Even though some countries’ brain drain has been seen as a major setback, the governments are taking various initiatives to make migration policies liberal by focusing on policies that promote contribution of the diaspora and through collaborations with private companies and governments of the developed nations. Keeping the
larger and long term advantage in mind countries are trying to generate global benefits by enhancing knowledge and fulfilling the demand for skills.