January 2008

IZA DP No. 3325: Where Do the Brainy Italians Go?

Amelie F. Constant, Elena D'Agosto

published in: F.E. Caroleo and F. Pastore (eds.), The Labour Market Impact of the EU Enlargement, Physica-Verlag Heidelberg, 2010

This paper studies the major determinants that affect the country choice of the talented Italian scientists and researchers who have at least a bachelor’s from Italy and live abroad. There are three alternative country choices: the US/Canada, the UK, and other EU countries. On average, the brainy Italians exhibit a higher predicted probability to go to the US. Ceteris paribus, both push and pull factors are important. While having a Ph.D. from outside Italy predicts the UK choice, having extra working experience from outside Italy predicts migration to other EU countries. Those who stay abroad temporarily for two to four years are definitely more likely to go to the UK. Specialization in the fields of humanities, social sciences, and health are strong determinants of migration to the UK. For the move to the US, while the humanities area is a significant deterrent, health is a positive deciding factor. Lack of funds in Italy constitutes a significant push to the US.