First Mondays: Final Thoughts – October 2015 Policy Salon

Thank you to everyone who attended October's policy salon and a special welcome to all our new participants.

Our discussion about migration and its effects on brain drain/gain for origin and destination countries’ economic development included perspectives from migration and humanitarian response and personal accounts of conflict-driven migration among many others. Below we’ve extracted some highlights from the evening’s discussion.

Brain Drain or Brain Gain? The Economic Development Cost of a 'Lost Generation' and the Impact on Destination Countries

  • Immigrants are economic drivers in destination countries – they are more likely to open businesses than native-born residents and to contribute more in taxes than they draw in public benefits in the United States.
  • Forced migration driven by conflict results in a “lost generation” of children and young people with missing or inadequate education as well as years of trauma that may compromise post-conflict reconstruction efforts in origin countries.
  • Refugees fleeing from crisis have very different motivations from economic migrants, and often prefer to return to their home countries, if possible.
  • U.S. companies argue to raise quotas of foreign nationals with science and technology skills in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace, but should recognize that current citizens need those opportunities as well.
  • Policies in both Europe and the U.S. are needed to ensure that countries are building human capital to the benefit of their countries in addition to the global community.
  • It will be useful to monitor how countries that take a more integrative approach to the current refugee crisis fare as compared to those that implement more isolationist policies.

Our discussion and final thoughts drew from both the outside expertise of our participants as well as the following readings that guided our talk:

  1. Hope: The Greatest Weapon Against the Dogs of War in Syria. Addresses missed education years and fleeing populations of skilled workers/professionals.
  2. Brain Drain and Fragile States. Includes practical policy options and discussion of "brain drain" versus "brain gain."
  3. Reverse Brain Drain: Economic Shifts Lure Migrants Home. Discusses human capital flows from developed to developing markets. 

Please feel free to share any thoughts or feedback by emailing us at ideas(at)franklinstreetpolicygrp(dot)nyc.