On Thursday, July 6, 2017, Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, presented his research on “The Internal Brain Drain: Foreign Aid, Hiring Practices and International Migration” at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). Nick is currently EDP visiting fellow with Sonja Grimm at the University of Konstanz and came to Frankfurt to foster exchange with other network members.
On the basis of the example of Haiti, Nick outlined the – rarely discussed – internal dynamics of the phenomenon known as “brain drain”, the emigration of qualified specialists to other countries. In his presentation, he outlined the “internal brain drain” as an equilibrium model with two areas of tension:
- The first area of tension lies in the conflicting salary conditions between public sector employees and the local employees of international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (INGOs).
- A second area of tension is created by the different salaries of local and international employees of IOs and INGOs.
According to his model, local employees of IOs and INGOs can be found in the middle of this equation. With regard to both directions, the difference in salary contributes to the dynamics of the internal as well as the external “brain drain”: as pressure and incentive to move away from the poorly paid public sector towards better paying jobs in IOs and INGOs, as well as pressure and incentive to move away to even better-paid work abroad. Nick identifies a possible solution to this situation in the revision of salary conditions andother benefits for international employees.
After Nick’s engaging lecture, we discussed the conception and consequences of these areas of tension as well as possible ways out of the dilemma together with other interested colleagues from the institute.