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Submitted by Shanta on

Thanks for your comment, Johanna. I think we are saying the same things, perhaps with different labels. First, the "economic lens" does not equate the benefits of migration with the total gains to the economy. It explicitly identifies the numerous winners and losers (migrants' families, host populations, etc.) and estimates the costs and benefits to them. These costs and benefits were the ones I cited in my blog post. Second, we agree that the benefits in receiving countries depend on the skill levels. Third, I'm not sure whether what you call the "culture of migration" is different from the general incentive to migrate, rather than anything specific to the brain gain. For instance, low-skilled people pay brokers large sums of money to migrate, which is not that different from people investing in higher education to increase their chances of migration. And you're right that the brain gain will take time to be registered as the better trained graduates are absorbed into the labor market. Here too I think we agree, because I was saying that the salary structure in source-country labor markets often prevents countries from benefiting from migration. Fourth, paying competitive salaries is not unrealistic if, as I suggested, they are paid only to those individuals who are internationally competitive, not to the rest of the profession as well. I realize this may be politically difficult, but it's important to understand what the constraint is (it isn't a purely fiscal constraint). Your final point is actually my final point too: that the economic case for migration is so compelling, that the reasons for its resistance must lie elsewhere, in culture and behavior. I hope we can work together in better understanding these phenomena, so we can design better policies to help migrants, those left behind, and those in receiving countries. Regards, Shanta