High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration

by Sari Pekkala Kerr, William Kerr, Çağlar Özden, and Christopher Parsons

Overview — Individuals with valuable skills have a higher propensity and offers to migrate both domestically and abroad due to the exceptional returns they can earn. Yet not all potential destinations are equally attractive in their professional and social opportunities. This review provides an in-depth analysis of available data and introduces several newly available data sources that are open to researchers. The patterns of high-skilled migration are quite consistent with agglomeration economies, such as the broad flows from a large number of source countries to very few destination countries. These data further show that migration selection processes for skill are becoming sharper and increasingly involve female migrants.

Author Abstract

This paper reviews recent research regarding high-skilled migration. We adopt a data-driven perspective, bringing together and describing several ongoing research streams that range from the construction of global migration databases, to the legal codification of national policies regarding high-skilled migration, to the analysis of patent data regarding cross-border inventor movements. A common theme throughout this research is the importance of agglomeration economies for explaining high-skilled migration. We highlight some key recent findings and outline major gaps that we hope will be tackled in the near future

Paper Information