A recent World Bank report, Diaspora Networks and the International Migration of Skills: How Countries Can Draw on Their Talent Abroad, suggests working with the migration flows, instead of trying to stem the tide. Part of the report is available online. Pittsburgh might learn a useful thing or two from international migration scholars:
Expatriates do not need to be investors or make financial contributions to have an impact on their home countries. They can serve as "bridges" by providing access to markets, sources of investment, and expertise. Influential members of diasporas can shape public debate, articulate reform plans, and help implement reforms and new projects. Policy expertise and managerial and marketing knowledge are the most significant resources of diaspora networks. The overarching focus on the knowledge and policy contributions of expatriates and diaspora networks distinguish this book from a rapidly growing literature on international migration.Just because a number of Pittsburghers have left does not mean that they can no longer help the region. These expatriates are cultivating networks in various economic hotspots all over the United States. They also tend to be unabashed boosters of Pittsburgh, though most of their co-workers are likely tired of Steelers talk. If you are looking for a spark for Pittsburgh's next renaissance, start your search outside of the region.