Friday, January 19, 2007

Boomerang Boon

Statistics Canada just published a study on the benefits of the country's brain circulation. Men who left the country, later to return, earned more than men who didn't join the internationally mobile. An article making the rounds today in the Canadian press quotes the report's explanation for the competitive advantage:

While out of the country, individuals might gain superior training and other kinds of work experience, develop new contacts, and enhance their productivity in other ways precisely because they are away. When they come back to Canada, if the conditions are suitable (i.e. the human capital and other advantages gained abroad are valued here), greater productivity should lead to higher earnings.

Like Canada, Pittsburgh isn't the entire world. You either import outsiders who have the necessary experience and contacts, or you hope your intellectual capital comes home at some later date. I'm still skeptical that Pittsburgh expatriates will move back in significant numbers, but that shouldn't prevent the region from tapping the homegrown talent.

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