Health
Research insight
March 18, 2021

Medical Worker Migration and Origin-Country Human Capital: Evidence from U.S. Visa Policy

Abstract

We exploit changes in U.S. visa policies for nurses to measure brain drain versus gain. Combining data on all migrant departures and postsecondary institutions in the Philippines, we show that nursing enrollment and graduation increased substantially in response to greater U.S. demand for nurses. The supply of nursing programs expanded to accommodate this increase. Nurse quality, measured by licensure exam pass rates, declined. Despite this, for each nurse migrant, 10 additional nurses were licensed. New nurses switched from other degree types, but graduated at higher rates than they would have otherwise, thus increasing the human capital stock in the Philippines.

Read the research paper here.

This content was originally published here

Caroline Theoharides

Assistant Professor of Economics, Amherst College

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