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New report out from @SenMikeLee 's Social Capital Project! "Losing Our Minds: Brain Drain across US States" THREAD!
Brain drain is typically thought of as a problem with economic ramifications, but we note that it also has important implications for social capital. In particular, it contributes to regional cultural polarization (leading to political polarization), /2
& it can leave behind communities bereft of institutions of civil society (per @TPCarney & @JDVance1 ). We were surprised there wasnt a standard measure of brain drain or much research on it (w/ @Richard_Florida & some @BrookingsMetro exceptions). (Tagging @RAVerBruggen here) /3
So we set out to build a measure going back as far as we could. Turns out, that means 1940. Also turns out that "brain drain" is a complicated concept. Who could have known? In the end we created four measures for each state. /4
We differentiate btwn gross & net brain drain (losing a disproportionate share of highly-educated people vs. losing more than move into the state) & between "absolute" & "relative" brain drain (defining "highly-educated" wrt the national educ distribution or the state distrib) /5
We observe people in their 30s & where they were born & define "highly educated" as being in the top third. Because brain drain is better/worse depending on how much outmigration there is & on how well-educated those left behind are, we place states along all 3 dimensions /6
So things get complicated quickly. In the report, we focus on 2017 and changes since 1970, but you can get all our estimates at jec.senate.gov/public/index.c…. /7
Know what else is on that page? A super-cool map based on D3 (the cool-kids' data viz language) courtesy of @ckfking . You can toggle between brain drain measures and slide through all of the years from 1940 to 2017. Here's that link again jec.senate.gov/public/index.c… /8
What'd we find? To simplify: the states that have the lowest gross brain drain and highest net brain GAIN are home to metros that @InnovateEconomy has identified as having especially dynamic job growth. Think MA, NY, NJ, MD, IL, CO, TX, CA, and OR. /9
These states, to a large extent, shuffle their highly-educated natives among each other, except IL is a regional hub. Most of them didn't look great on brain drain in 1970. /10
(Here I'll note that many of these states are seeing a lot of out-migration. That's "drain," not necessarily "brain drain." In other words, losing a lot of people isn't brain drain unless the leavers are better educated than the stayers. "Drain" is a problem too, of course.) /11
At the other end are two clusters--the Rust Belt and the Southeast--that experience high gross and net brain drain. The Southeast actually concentrated toward the lowest-brain-drain states in 1970. The Rust Belt has had brain drain problems for a long, long time. /12
Props to @RachelSheffiel2 for playing a lead role on the report and to @VijayKMen for an assist to get us across the end zone. We hope federal and state policymakers will find the results useful & that researchers will use the data. /13
We have a couple more releases from "Phase 1" of the Social Capital Project (on deaths of despair), but Phase 2--focused on developing a policy agenda--kicks off Tuesday, with our first hearing under Chairman Lee /14 jec.senate.gov/public/index.c…
It will star Opportunity Insight's @nhendren82 , @AEI 's @streeterryan , NYU sociologist @patrick_sharkey , & @MAFpajarito 's @MAFCEO (Jose Quinonez) and will focus on "expanding opportunity by strengthening families, communities, and civil society." /15
We're on a roll with titles, as "Losing Our Minds" will be followed by "The Wealth of Relations." Anyway, thanks for your interest, and feel free to reach out with questions. /fin
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