Fangmeng Tian (Minzu University of China) - Skilled Emigration of University Graduates from China: An Internationally Comparative Study

Date and Time: October 17th, 2019, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Room: Old Campus, Dongliuzhai


Using a merged immigrant dataset by OECD, this paper analyzes the size and emigration rate of China’s skilled diaspora. While the number of highly educated overseas Chinese continues to increase, the emigration rate has been declining. According to an educational definition of talent, the size of China’s skilled emigrants ranked second in the world, and it was among the countries with the lowest emigration rates in 2010. For most Chinese students studying abroad, their migration can be depicted as brain circulation, instead of brain drain. Employing shift-share method, this paper also finds that China’s skilled outflow can be largely explained by the effect of globalization, and the national effect is insignificant.
The results of negative binomial regression analysis reveal that population size, education level of nationals, and policy barriers of host countries are significant determinants of skilled emigration rate. The estimation based on the statistical models show that China’s emigration rate is substantially below the expected level. Using the OECD data and a national survey data of college graduates in the United States, the paper also explores the skilled flows at the high end. Most Chinese talent with a doctoral degree concentrate in the U.S.. They tend to acquire their highest degree in the host country, and stay to work after graduation. Only a smaller portion of high-end Chinese in the U.S. obtained their doctoral degree in China, and their stay abroad is likely to be temporary. The findings do not support the widely shared view that China has a severe problem of brain drain.


About the Speaker

Fangmeng Tian is an associate professor at Development of Sociology, Minzu University of China. He was awarded a PhD of public policy at George Mason University in 2012. His research interest includes skilled migration, international migration and other demographic issues. He has published several research articles on international journals, which focus on skilled migration between China and North America. He is working on an academic book on "brain drain".

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