Many developing countries are experiencing high rates of emigration of their
highly skilled citizens. This essay asks if a cosmopolitan—who we take to be
generally supportive of freer international migration—should worry about the
adverse effects on those remaining behind in poor countries. We document the
extent of skilled outflows, discuss the causes and consequences of those
outflows, and offer principles to guide a cosmopolitan policy response. We argue
that skilled emigration harms long-run institutional development. The right
response, however, is not to shut down the one reasonably liberal element of the
international migration regime but to look for ways to make international
migration work better for development.
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