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Diaspora Networks and the International Migration of Skills: How Countries Can Draw on Their Talent Abroad

WBI Development Studies


Edited by Yevgeny Kuznetsov, K4D Program


Diaspora BookThe migration of human capital from less to more developed economies, usually defined as “brain drain,” is a hotly debated development issue. This book examines how expatriate talent can make contribution to the development of their countries of origin. The focus is on self-organized groups of expatriates, Diaspora networks, and the critical importance of the institutions in the home country.


“For the World Bank Institute, publication of this book marks the beginning of a new agenda of promoting policy reform and institutional innovation in collaboration with Diaspora members. Actors in Diaspora networks can be crucial bridges between global state-of-the-art in policy, technological, and managerial expertise and local conditions in their home countries.”  Frannie A. Léautier, Vice President, World Bank Institute.


This is a book for practitioners by practitioners. The main audience is policy makers in developing countries who are developing programs and interventions to design effective diaspora networks ands transform brain drain into brain gain. The focus is on the “how to” details of such interventions. The book will also be of interest to academics working on the migration of skills and development economics. Most of the chapters are written by individuals with direct knowledge of diaspora interventions or with diaspora experience.


“Issue by the numbers: Among developing countries in 2000, the Philippines had the highest emigration stocks of university-educated expatriates in high-income economies (1,126,260 people), followed by India (1,037,626), Mexico (922,964), and China (816,824).”


Some downloads are available below.  Please buy the book online.


For more information, publications and events, visit the initiative Diasporas of Highly Skilled and Migration of Talent.


arrowForeword, Contributions and Preface. (PDF, 60Kb)


Part I    Analytical Framework and Major Policy Issues    

1.    International Migration of Talent, Diaspora Networks, and Development: Overview of Main Issues. Yevgeny Kuznetsov and Charles Sabel (PDF, 91Kb)

2.  The Dynamics of Migration of the Highly Skilled: A Survey of the Literature. David Ellerman

3.   The Dynamics of Diaspora Networks: Lessons of Experience. Richard Devane     

Part II    Expatriate Talent and Home Country Development: Lessons of Mature Diaspora Networks

4.   The Indian Diaspora: A Unique Case? Abhishek Pandey, Alok Aggarwal, Richard Devane, and Yevgeny Kuznetsov

5.  Mexico : Leveraging Migrants’ Capital to Develop Hometown Communities. Federico Torres and Yevgeny Kuznetsov

6.  Armenia : What Drives First Movers and How Can Their Efforts Be Scaled Up? Victoria Anahí Minoran and Lev M. Freinkman                                      

Part III   Expatriate Talent and Home Country Development: Emerging Diaspora Networks   

7.   Argentina : Burgeoning Networks of Talent Abroad, Weak Institutions at Home. Yevgeny Kuznetsov, Adolfo Nemirovsky, and Gabriel Yoguel

8.  South Africa : Evolving Diaspora, Promising Initiatives. Jonathan Marks

9.  Promise and Frustration of Diaspora Networks: Lessons from the Network of Colombian Researchers Abroad. Fernando Chaparro, Hernán Jaramillo, and Vladimir Quintero  

Part IV  Implications for Policy and Institutional Development        

10.   A Model Diaspora Network: The Origin and Evolution of GlobalScot.   Mairi MacRae with Martin Wight     

11.   Leveraging Diasporas of Talent: Toward a New Policy Agenda. Yevgeny Kuznetsov      


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