Introducing more skilled employees into the economy is an important path to development for many middle income countries. That’s why increased and improved training at the top end of the education level – PhDs – is considered so vital.

Many countries encourage students to pursue their PhDs abroad in nations with well ranked universities, particularly in Europe and North America, on the presumption that what’s offered in the developed world is better quality. They know that some of those students won’t return after graduating, but take the risk since they believe those who do return will bring with them the necessary qualities for future growth.

But until now there’s been little concrete evidence that would allow one to judge whether this is an effective approach. Does encouraging students to obtain their PhDs elsewhere improve the quality or quantity of scientific output in their home country?…. more