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Can Brain Drain Justify Immigration Restrictions?

Kieran Oberman
Ethics
Vol. 123, No. 3 (April 2013), pp. 427-455
DOI: 10.1086/669567
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669567
Page Count: 29
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Can Brain Drain Justify Immigration Restrictions?
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Abstract

This article considers one seemingly compelling justification for immigration restrictions: that they help restrict the brain drain of skilled workers from poor states. For some poor states, brain drain is a severe problem, sapping their ability to provide basic services. Yet this article finds that justifying immigration restrictions on brain drain grounds is far from straightforward. For restrictions to be justified, a series of demanding conditions must be fulfilled. Brain drain does provide a successful argument for some immigration restrictions, but it is an argument that fails to justify restrictions beyond a small minority of cases.

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