القای شکل گیری سرمایه انسانی: مهاجرت به عنوان یک جایگزین برای یارانه ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|18410||2002||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Public Economics, Volume 86, Issue 1, October 2002, Pages 29–46
When productivity is fostered by an individual’s own human capital as well as by the economy-wide average level of human capital, individuals under-invest in human capital. The provision of subsidies for the formation of human capital, conditional on the subsidy being self-financed by tax revenues, can bring the economy to its socially optimal level of human capital. Yet a strictly positive probability of migration to a richer country, by raising both the level of human capital formed by optimizing individuals in the home country and the average level of human capital of non-migrants in the country, can enhance welfare and nudge the economy toward the social optimum. Indeed, under a well-controlled, restrictive migration policy the welfare of all workers is higher than in the absence of this policy.
There is a strong consensus that deficiency in human capital is a major reason why poor countries remain poor. Much — though not all — of the human capital in a country is a result of decisions made by individuals. But individual choices seldom add up to the social optimum. In particular, individuals do not consider the positive externalities that human capital confers in production. The result is that they acquire less human capital than is desirable. If individuals could be persuaded to form more human capital, the human capital that is acquired in an economy could rise to the socially optimal level of human capital. What makes an unfortunate state of affairs worse is that whatever quantities of human capital are formed, some — and often more than a mere some — are lost through the migration leakage. It comes as little surprise then that the concern heretofore has been to contain this leakage. In the words of a recent World Development Report: “Can something be done to stop the exodus of trained workers from poorer countries?” (World Bank, 1995, p. 64). This concern follows, and is in congruence with, the large ‘brain drain’ literature (for a systematic review see Bhagwati and Wilson, 1989). In this paper we turn this concern on its head. We argue that the prospect of migration can well be harnessed to induce individuals to form a socially desirable level of human capital. Our key idea is that compared to a closed economy, an economy open to migration differs not only in the opportunities that workers face but also in the structure of the incentives they confront; higher prospective returns to human capital in a foreign country impinge on human capital formation decisions at home. We use a simple model in which an individual’s productivity is fostered by his own human capital as well as by the economy-wide average level of human capital. We examine the relationship between the actual formation of human capital in an economy, the optimal formation of human capital in the economy, and the public provision of subsidies for the formation of human capital in the economy in the absence of migration. We calculate the (positive) level of subsidy required to ensure that the human capital formed is equal to the socially optimal human capital. We next examine the relationship between the actual formation of human capital in the economy and the optimal formation of human capital in the presence of a possibility of migration. We state conditions under which per capita output and the level of welfare of all workers are higher with migration than in its absence. We show that a controlled and restrictive migration policy can be an effective instrument to enhance welfare and nudge the economy toward the social optimum. We derive this result first when all workers are alike and are equally capable of responding to the migration prospect, and second when workers differ both in their skills and in their ability to respond. We conclude that migration is conducive to the formation of human capital, and that the presence of migration can substitute for the provision of public subsidies as a means of bringing about the formation of a socially preferred level of human capital. Thus, we cast migration as a harbinger of human capital gain, not as the culprit of human capital drain. An additional interesting implication of our perception of what migration can entail is that the gains from migration to the home country accrue neither from migrants’ remittances nor from migrants’ return home with amplified skills acquired abroad.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
When the productivity of an individual in a closed economy or in a small open economy without migration is fostered not only by his own human capital but also by the average level of human capital, the individual who optimally chooses how much to invest in costly human capital formation will, from a social point of view, under-invest. Consequently, social welfare is affected adversely. Not surprisingly, a combination of subsidies and taxes can correct the inefficiencies that arise from the human capital externalities. Somewhat surprisingly, migration too can mitigate the undesirable outcome. In fact, a well-specified migration policy can ameliorate the tendency to under-invest in human capital and instead permit formation of a socially desirable level of human capital. The favorable effect of migration and the associated welfare gain apply not only when all individuals can respond to the migration prospect but also when only a subset of individuals are affected. In the latter case, even those who cannot gain from migration by participating in it stand to gain from the response of others to the migration prospect. The propensity to acquire skills is not invariant to the possibility of having the skills rewarded highly. This consideration appears to have escaped attention by migration scholars for many years. The pioneering work of Grubel and Scott (1966) provides a careful account of why a country need not “lose by the emigration of highly skilled individuals”. In Grubel’s and Scott’s words “[E]migration should be welcomed whenever two conditions are met. These are, first, that the emigrant improves his own income and, second, that the migrant’s departure does not reduce the income of those remaining behind” (p. 270). That the prospect of migration modifies the human capital formation calculus, thereby entailing a welfare gain for the non-migrants (rather than being inconsistent with a welfare loss) has neither been mentioned by Grubel and Scott, nor by those who followed in their steps. This paper draws attention to this possible relationship. We have shown that the behavioral response to the prospect of migration nourishes both a ‘brain drain’ and a ‘brain gain’, and that a skillfully executed migration policy can confine and utilize the response to secure a welfare gain for all workers. In our model, the social welfare of workers is enhanced as long as the probability of migration is kept below a critical level. The magnitude of this critical level of the migration probability, which is the optimal probability that maximizes the welfare gain from migration, decreases with the productivity differential of human capital between the destination country and the home country. These results offer a positive policy implication: a poor country should adopt a restrictive migration policy and gradually relax the restriction as its economy develops. When the workforce is heterogeneous, a carefully designed migration policy can benefit both high-skill and low-skill workers, even when the low-skill workers cannot directly exploit the migration prospect. Furthermore, the larger the wage differential between the destination country and the home country, the greater the incentive to accumulate human capital and the more likely that the ‘brain drain’ of migrants will be outweighed by the ‘brain gain’ of non-migrants. It follows then that, contrary to the received wisdom, the poor in a poor country stand to gain more and need to fear less from properly controlled migration by skilled members of the country’s workforce. Presenting migration as a device that facilitates the formation of a socially desirable level of human capital need not imply that migration is the only — or even the preferred — means of achieving this objective. Implementing a program to mandate the acquisition of compulsory skills is another way to facilitate the formation of a socially desirable level of human capital, as is an offering of generous (probabilistic) prizes to those who achieve this goal. Whereas recourse to these schemes entails a cost to the government, however, migration requires none. We have assumed that the human capital formed in the home country is perfectly transferable to the destination country. In the preceding section we have assumed that the probability of migration depends on the workers’ level of skill. This latter assumption can duly salvage the human capital formation incentives associated with the prospect of migration when the human capital formed in the home country is not on a par with the comparable human capital formed in the destination country. Specifically, and even when the returns to human capital in the home country are low, our key argument is retained upon letting the probability of migration depend positively on the attainment of the necessary skills. Our model stands in sharp contrast to the received literature on the brain drain. In particular, we consider the policy implications for a government that can costlessly exercise control over the migration of skilled workers: while the prescription of the standard approach does not favor migration, ours allows it, though with caution. Implicitly, however, our model shares a concern with that literature. We have assigned a well-defined role and a specific policy mandate to the government of the home country, which presupposes the existence of effective political institutions. Weaknesses and shortcomings in this regard could hinder the feasibility of the action we advocate. Finally, we note that our key ‘inducement effect’ of migration is quite robust to alternative functional and model specifications. In the present paper, the analysis has been based on a simple model with simple cost and benefit functions. These have fostered considerable transparency and straightforward tractability. In a related paper (Stark et al., 1998), intertemporal utility-maximizing individuals who choose the level of their human capital optimally respond to the possibility of migration in a manner akin to that of workers in the simple specification employed in the present paper.