The Diaspora Brain Trust: A Study of Albanian Talent Around the World

Prepared by Daniela MuhajBlue button with white "Take Survey" text

The Growth Lab Albania team is working on better understanding the causes and consequences of youth and high skilled migration post 2000s. There is a perception that the loss in knowhow has been exacerbated in the past decade especially for selected professions or skill segments in high demand by more advanced economies. This study aims to understand the magnitude of the problem, analyze the pull and push factors as well as provide relevant policy inputs.

As part of our research, we are conducting a survey to understand the driving forces behind skilled migration and future prospects for Albanian talent in the diaspora. To qualify for the survey, you identify as an Albanian that lives outside of Albania, and have left Albania for education, work or for other reasons in 2000 or later. The survey will be available until July 15, 2020.

The work is motivated by our growth diagnostic analysis, which found evidence indicating that an important binding constraint to stronger and more sustainable growth in Albania is productive knowhow. With an increasingly global world, it is often the case that much of a country’s human capital and productive knowhow resides beyond its borders. This pattern is particularly prevalent for developing economies such as Albania. Albania’s isolationist past and the low level of economic diversification have served as bottlenecks to knowledge accumulation.

In this context, the country’s main inflows of knowledge and skills needed to produce increasingly complex goods and services have been channeled through foreign direct investment and returning members of the diaspora. The latter, help knowhow diffusion and absorption in their home country by starting new businesses or improving the productive processes of existing ones. The return migration and diaspora effects, if properly channeled, can partially compensate for the migration of youth and professionals. However, the loss of young and skilled workers remains an increasing challenge and an understudied phenomenon with much importance to the economic growth, development and diversification quest.

The results of our study will be published in the fall. Take the survey, spread the word, and stay tuned for the updates!