Research insight
Editorial from
Caroline Theoharides
Assistant Professor of Economics, Amherst College
November 16, 2022
3. Good health and well-being

3. Good health and well-being

Ensuring access to quality health and promoting well-being for all, at all ages

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

RESEARCH SEMINAR | Under the the theme Economic Development in Africa, the NOVAFRICA Knowledge Center welcomes Caroline Theoharides, from Amherst College to present her work on medical worker migration and brain drain.


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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