Getting More by Letting Go

Kerry Howley reports on a new paper by the inestimable Michael Clemens examining a remarkable natural experiment in Fiji, the results of which further demolish “brain drain” arguments against skilled emigration. Kerry nicely captures the intuitive-once-you-think-about-it-a-second principle at work:

People locked in poor countries do not fail to invest years studying theoretical physics because they lack the appropriate imaginative capacity. If no one can afford to hire a cardiologist, no sane person is going to waste a decade studying to be one.  Migration increases the returns to higher education. It transforms a questionable investment into one worth making.