02 January 2013

Brain Circulation in 16 Countries

Via the World Bank, the graphic above shows "brain circulation" -- the immigration and emigration of researchers -- for 16 countries in 2011. Countries that experienced a "drain" included India, Italy and Belgium. Gainers included the US, Australia and Switzerland.

The data comes from: Chiara Franzoni, Giuseppe Scellato, and Paula Stephan, May 2012. “Foreign Born Scientists: Mobility Patterns for Sixteen Countries,” National Bureau of Economic Research.


  1. Sometimes I joke that I don't need to go to India; India came to me (I work in computational biology).

  2. Just eyeballing that chart, the largest favorable in-to-out ratio seems to be the U.S. The modest exodus from France doesn't surprise me, nor does the high exodus from troubled Russia. But I was surprised to see the high departure rate from Japan. Perhaps the morbid economy has reduced industrial research.

    I'm surprised that now high-tech Israel wasn't included in the list. It's become a great place for research, suggesting a high immigration rate, particularly by Russian Jews. On the other hand, it's a difficult country to live in, raising the temptation to immigrate to countries such as the U.S. and Canada, which have large Jewish populations and little anti-Semitism.

  3. #2
    I don't see Russia on the list. India and Italy have the highest drain, Japan seems self contained. If you know the salaries in Switzerland it's no surprise it is the most attractive.

  4. This confirms my long-standing belief that the US skims the best, brightest and hardest working people from the rest of the world. The graph shows researchers, I assume similar distributions are valid for students, tech workers, businessmen, laborers, etc.

    This is one reason why the rest of the world continues to give us their cash for zero interest. People who bet on the demise of the US are always wrong. Funny how that group is the currently depressed anti-immigrant right-wing.