One of the most controversial aspects of human mobility is “brain drain” — the emigration of talented, educated professionals. Developed economies have an interest in attracting, educating and retaining highly skilled labor. These workers, however, often emigrate from developing countries that would benefit most if they returned home after honing their skills at foreign universities and corporations.
In the United States, immigration policy experts agree that increasing visas for high-skilled workers would benefit innovation and economic development. This creates a challenge for Mexico when highly qualified workers opt for jobs and advanced degree programs across the border. While emigration provides these workers with opportunities unavailable to them at home, it also hinders global competitiveness in a country where less than 10 percent of the population has a higher education degree. Mexico’s government recently created policies to keep talented human capital in the country and entice expatriates to return home, but the incentives to live and work abroad remain strong.
This panel of experts will explore the U.S.-Mexico education-migration nexus, focusing on the circulation of skilled human capital and subsequent trade-offs.
Tony Payan, Ph.D.
Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies, and Director, Mexico Center, Baker Institute