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Anastasia Papakonstantinou: Young Scientists Flee Abroad: Brain-Drain? Brain-Gain?

The crisis that is currently besetting Greece started out as a financial meltdown, while it has now mutated in the first widespread social and employment crisis of the globalized economy. Greece is experiencing a deep recession with cumulative contraction of its GDP, with aggravation of most economic indicators and subsidence of the production and technological base. Unemployment exceeds 26% and more than 870.000 jobs have been lost over a period of three years, from 2010 to 2012. Because of high unemployment in Greece and contraction of its economy, a large number of mainly young scientists seem to have migrated abroad in the last three years, a fact that is often referred to as “brain-drain”.

Existing literature indicates that the brain-drain phenomenon primarily concerns developing countries. For these countries, immigration to a large extent involves the relocation of the best and brightest portion of their workforce in Silicon Valley, in hospitals and universities of the developed world; thus, there is growing concern about the way they will manage to achieve development without input from the highly skilled human capital that they possess. At the same time, developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the USA, are implementing policies designed to motivate the highly skilled human capital of developing countries to migrate to them, or to remain there and not return to its home country.

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