From brain drain to brain exchange: how to use better highly skilled workers, a conceptual approach

Alexandra David, Anna Barwinska-Malajowicz, Frans Coenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


One of the key rights of each European citizen stated in the Lisbon Treaty is the freedom to move within Europe. Especially, in times of increasing intra- and inter-European labour mobility, this right should be the spotlight of regional, national and EU agenda. But in reality, the freedom of movement underlies practical obstacles such as an access to particular occupations and regional labour markets, which is bound to (a) the official recognition of professional qualifications, differing in each member state as well as (b) language skills. These and further factors hinder (1) labour migrants to make full use of their skill potential and (2) regions to completely absorb their knowledge. Thus, metaphorically speaking, the knowledge gets lost and wasted between the home and target emigration regions. Hence, this article aims at presenting knowledge effect on the home and target regions and discusses possible regional structures fostering inclusion and absorption capacity to avoid brain drain and brain waste, but empowers brain gain and brain exchange as positive knowledge effects. The final part presents regional actors' networks and inter-regional social networks (migration networks) as possible instruments to build regional structures for better regional social inclusion and knowledge absorption and as pipelines for knowledge spillover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
JournalWspólnoty Europejskie
Issue number5 (216)
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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