Patterns of international mobility of researchers: evidence from the GlobSci survey

  • Giuseppe Scellato

    epartment of Industrial Engineering and Management,


    Time : Sat, Nov 23 16.40 - 17.00

    Room : Ayodya A



Abstract

The contribution of foreign-born scientists and engineers in all advanced economies is sizable. In the US, science and engineering degrees granted to foreign-born have steadily increased overtime and the increase has been steeper during the 2000s. Foreign-born and foreign-educated scientists are also known to be disproportionately distributed among those that made exceptional contributions in science. General statistics for EU countries are almost completely lacking. In this paper we address the issue of patterns of international mobility of scientists by exploiting a new dataset deriving from the GlobSci survey, conducted in the spring of 2011 by the three authors and supported by grants from the Italian Government and from the National Bureau of Economic Research (USA). The survey is unique in that it studies scientists working in 16 'core' countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA) allowing the comparison of patterns of researchers' inflows and outflows. The methodology involved surveying corresponding authors of articles published in 2009 in four fields of science who were studying or working in one of 16 core countries. The four fields are biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, and materials. Collectively the 16 core countries produce about 70 percent of all articles published in these fields. The overall response rate was 40 percent. This resulted in about 19,000 completed responses. The survey data include detailed information at the individual level for both mobile and non-mobile researchers. Surveyed scientists currently working in one of the core country come from more than 100 source countries. In the paper we initially present and discuss the new evidence on mobility patterns. In particular, we show for each of the 'core' countries the most relevant source countries and destination countries. We then move to the analysis at the individual level of: i) the motivations for leaving the country of origin; ii) the likelihood of returning to the country of origin; iii) the correlation between mobility and international scope of co-authorships. Moreover, in order to assess the impact of international mobility on the competitiveness of national scientific systems we analyse whether, after accounting for individual and field-specific characteristics, there are significant variations in the quality of scientific output of emigrated scientists, scientists that had international scientific experiences and non-mobile researchers. Finally, we discuss the policy implications of the overall evidence from the perspective of both destination and source countries.

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