2,585 research outputs found

    Scientific mobility and knowledge networks in high emigration countries: evidence from the Pacific

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    This paper uses a unique survey to examine the nature and extent of knowledge flows that result from the international mobility of researchers whose initial education was in small island countries. Current migrants produce substantially more research than similar-skilled return migrants and non-migrants. Return migrants have no greater research impact than individuals who never migrate but are the main source of research knowledge transfer between international and local researchers. Our results contrast with previous claims in the literature that too few migrant researchers ever return home to have much impact, and that there is no productivity gain to researchers from migration

    Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS): Development impacts in the first two years

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    Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. This program was designed to alleviate labor shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu to undertake seasonal work. This paper presents an analysis of the development impacts of this program in the first two years, and compares them to those from New Zealand’s seasonal worker program in the same countries. The overall development impact of the scheme to date is small, since only 215 individuals participated in the program in the first two years. We examine the selection of these workers, finding they tend to come from poorer areas of Tonga, but within these locations, appear to be of average income levels, and indeed are similar in many respects to the workers going to New Zealand. We estimate the gain per participating household to be approximately A$2,600, which is a 39 percent increase in per-capita annual income in participating Tongan households. The aggregate impact to date is small, but the experience of New Zealand’s program shows that seasonal worker programs can potentially have large aggregate effects. Finally, we provide some evidence on worker’s opinions about the program

    The development impact of a best practice seasonal worker policy: New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme

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    Seasonal migration programs are widely used around the world, and are increasingly seen as offering a potential “triple-win”- benefiting the migrant, sending country, and receiving country. Yet there is a dearth of rigorous evidence as to their development impact, and concerns about whether the time periods involved are too short to realize much in the way of benefits, and whether poorer, less skilled households actually get to participate in such programs. We study the development impacts of a recently introduced seasonal worker program which has been deemed to be “best practice”. New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program was launched in 2007 with an explicit focus on development in the Pacific alongside the aim of benefiting employers at home. A multi-year prospective evaluation allows us to measure the impact of participation in this program on households and communities in Tonga and Vanuatu. Using a matched difference-in-differences analysis based on detailed surveys fielded before, during, and after participation, we find that the RSE has indeed had largely positive development impacts. It has increased income and consumption of households, allowed households to purchase more durable goods, increased subjective standard of living, and had additional benefits at the community level. It also increased child schooling in Tonga. This should rank it among the most effective development policies evaluated to date. The policy was designed as a best practice example based on lessons elsewhere, and now should serve as a model for other countries to follow

    The economic consequences of ‘brain drain’ of the best and brightest: Microeconomic evidence from five countries

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    Brain drain has long been a common concern for migrant-sending countries, particularly for small countries where high-skilled emigration rates are highest. However, while economic theory suggests a number of possible benefits, in addition to costs, from skilled emigration, the evidence base on many of these is very limited. Moreover, the lessons from case studies of benefits to China and India from skilled emigration may not be relevant to much smaller countries. This paper presents the results of innovative surveys which tracked academic high achievers from five countries to wherever they moved in the world in order to directly measure at the micro level the channels through which high-skilled emigration affects the sending country. The results show that there are very high levels of emigration and of return migration among the very highly skilled; the income gains to the best and brightest from migrating are very large, and an order of magnitude or more greater than any other effect; there are large benefits from migration in terms of postgraduate education; most high-skilled migrants from poorer countries send remittances; but that involvement in trade and foreign direct investment is a rare occurrence. There is considerable knowledge flow from both current and return migrants about job and study opportunities abroad, but little net knowledge sharing from current migrants to home country governments or businesses. Finally, the fiscal costs vary considerably across countries, and depend on the extent to which governments rely on progressive income taxation

    Preliminary impacts of a new seasonal work program on rural household incomes in the Pacific

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    Seasonal work programs are increasingly advocated by international aid agencies as a way of enabling both developed and developing countries to benefit from migration. They are argued to provide workers with new skills and allow them to send remittances home, without the receiving country having to worry about long-term assimilation and the source country worrying about permanent loss of skills. However, formal evidence as to the development impact of seasonal worker programs is non-existent. This paper provides the first such evaluation, studying New Zealand's new Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) program which allows Pacific Island migrants to work in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand for up to seven months per year. We use baseline and follow-up waves of surveys we are carrying out in Tonga to form difference-in-difference and propensity score matching estimates of short-term impacts on household income and consumption

    Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in household surveys for better economics and better policy

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    Distance and location are important determinants of many choices that economists study. While these variables can sometimes be obtained from secondary data, economists often rely on information that is self-reported by respondents in surveys. These self-reports are used especially for the distance from households or community centers to various features such as roads, markets, schools, clinics and other public services. There is growing evidence that self-reported distance is measured with error and that these errors are correlated with outcomes of interest. In contrast to self-reports, the Global Positioning System (GPS) can determine almost exact location (typically within 15 meters). The falling cost of GPS receivers (typically below US$100) makes it increasingly feasible for field surveys to use GPS as a better method of measuring location and distance. In this paper we review four ways that GPS can lead to better economics and better policy: (i) through constructing instrumental variables that can be used to understand the causal impact of policies, (ii) by helping to understand policy externalities and spillovers, (iii) through better understanding of the access to services, and (iv) by improving the collection of household survey data. We also discuss several pitfalls and unresolved problems with using GPS in household surveys

    Keeping It Real!: Constructing and Maintaining Traditional Authenticity in a Tibetan Buddhist Organisation in Scotland

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    Many studies on the westward transplantation of Buddhism focus on the retention of traditional authenticity. The sociological perspective provided here moves the emphasis to the social construction of such claims. The social construction of traditional authenticity will be explored through a study of the Tibetan Buddhist organisation, Rokpa Scotland (RS) and it will be demonstrated that RS constructs claims to traditional authenticity by adapting to the local culture whilst demonstrating links with an ancient practice. These claims are then reified by limiting adaptations and retaining core features associated with Buddhism. None the less adapting to the West can be seen as detraditionalization and can present a threat to claims to traditional authenticity. However, RS can claim to control the detraditionalization process by responding to the effects of reflexive modernization and controlling the flow of information. In controlling detraditionalization RS provides the plausibility structures to maintain claims to traditional authenticity.Tibetan Buddhism, Scotland, Transplantation, Reflexive Modernization, Detraditionalization, Social Constructionism

    'You Don't Know How Lucky You Are to Be Here!': Reflections on Covert Practices in an Overt Participant Observation Study

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    There has been a tendency in sociology to see covert and overt roles of social researchers in participant observation studies as opposites. This is both in terms of the researcher role and the surrounding ethics, with the overt researcher role being seen as fundamentally more ethical than the covert participant observer. However, Calvey (2008) alleged that covert practices often remain unreported in overt accounts. The purpose of this paper is therefore to address this issue through reflections on my own research experience. Drawing on my research with the contemporary spiritual milieu in Scotland, I will argue that the covert and overt roles are far from opposites and should be seen as part of a continuum. The moral high ground attributed to overt research is often questionable and most overt studies will employ covert practices. It will therefore be argued that decisions regarding the role of the participant observer should be grounded in the intellectual contemplation of specific research situations, including ethical considerations, rather than condemning sound social enquiry on the misguided basis that overt research is always superior to covert studies because of its ethical standards. In conclusion it will be argued that all researchers have a responsibility to reflect honestly upon their research experience as part of wider reflexive turn in social research.Participant Observation; Ethics; Covert Research; Overt Research; Informed Consent; Researcher Role; Field Relations; Reflexivity

    The Development Impact of a Best Practice Seasonal Worker Policy

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    Seasonal migration programs are widely used around the world, and are increasingly seen as offering a potential "triple-win"- benefiting the migrant, sending country, and receiving country. Yet there is a dearth of rigorous evidence as to their development impact, and concerns about whether the time periods involved are too short to realize much in the way of benefits, and whether poorer, less skilled households actually get to participate in such programs. We study the development impacts of a recently introduced seasonal worker program which has been deemed to be "best practice". New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program was launched in 2007 with an explicit focus on development in the Pacific alongside the aim of benefiting employers at home. A multi-year prospective evaluation allows us to measure the impact of participation in this program on households and communities in Tonga and Vanuatu. Using a matched difference-in-differences analysis based on detailed surveys fielded before, during, and after participation, we find that the RSE has indeed had largely positive development impacts. It has increased income and consumption of households, allowed households to purchase more durable goods, increased subjective standard of living, and had additional benefits at the community level. It also increased child schooling in Tonga. This should rank it among the most effective development policies evaluated to date. The policy was designed as a best practice example based on lessons elsewhere, and now should serve as a model for other countries to follow.Seasonal migration; Matched Difference-in-Differences

    The Economic Consequences of "Brain Drain" of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries

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    Brain drain has long been a common concern for migrant-sending countries, particularly for small countries where high-skilled emigration rates are highest. However, while economic theory suggests a number of possible benefits, in addition to costs, from skilled emigration, the evidence base on many of these is very limited. Moreover, the lessons from case studies of benefits to China and India from skilled emigration may not be relevant to much smaller countries. This paper presents the results of innovative surveys which tracked academic high-achievers from five countries to wherever they moved in the world in order to directly measure at the micro level the channels through which high-skilled emigration affects the sending country. The results show that there are very high levels of emigration and of return migration among the very highly skilled; the income gains to the best and brightest from migrating are very large, and an order of magnitude or more greater than any other effect; there are large benefits from migration in terms of postgraduate education; most high-skilled migrants from poorer countries send remittances; but that involvement in trade and foreign direct investment is a rare occurrence. There is considerable knowledge flow from both current and return migrants about job and study opportunities abroad, but little net knowledge sharing from current migrants to home country governments or businesses. Finally, the fiscal costs vary considerably across countries, and depend on the extent to which governments rely on progressive income taxation.brain drain, brain gain, highly skilled migration
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