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On the Brain Drain of Africans to America: Some Methodological Observations

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image of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

Recurring debates about the impact of the brain drain— the developing world's loss of human capital to more developed countries—has motivated estimation of the magnitude of the phenomenon, most recently by the World Bank. Although frequently cited as a key contributor to Africa's wanting development record, what constitutes the "brain-drain" is not always clearly defined. Today, in the absence of an accounting system, resolution of the definitional and measurement question depends on relative comparisons of measurement variants, which will identify definitional shortcomings by clarifying the merits and demerits of these variants, and thereby suggest corrective imputations. This paper compares the World Bank's approach to a chronological precedent (Dodoo 1997) to clarify the value of variant comparisons. The resultant implications for corrections are also discussed.


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