The World Bank Institute Development Studies has just published the book "Diaspora Networks and the International Migration of Skills: How Countries Can Draw on Their Talent Abroad".
As opposed to much of much of the recent literature (and recent postings here) which focus on remittances and their development impact, this study's focus is on the knowledge and policy contributions of expatriates and diaspora networks.
Expatriates do not need to be investors or make financial contributions to have an impact on their home countries. They can serve as “bridges” by providing access to markets, sources of investment, and expertise. Influential members of diasporas can shape public debate, articulate reform plans, and help implement reforms and new projects. Policy expertise and managerial and marketing knowledge are the most significant resources of diaspora networks.
The recent literature emphasizes remittances and their development impact. In contrast, we are somewhat skeptical that remittances and other financial transfers by migrants can ever have a significant development impact, although they are certainly an important tool of poverty alleviation.
There is much more information on the diaspora of the highly skilled on WBI's Knowledge for Development website.
See our latest posting on migration issues.
Thank you to Alexey Volynets, from WBI Knowledge for Development.