An investigation of mobility of Italian Ph. Doctors


Migration is a permanent phenomenon rooted in history and recently involves high-skilled workers (HSWs). Among them, a crucial role is played by PhDs. HSWs face the risk to not find a job matching their skills and they can opt to accept to be overeducated for the job or move to another country or region. Mobility of HSW can be interpreted as a positive issue that can help to match jobs and skills. However, the emergence of a clear path between areas of countries or regions (e.g. from south to north Italy) highlights the risks of a drain of human capital from areas with low development to more developed ones. In this paper, we focus on a category of HSWs who have been almost neglected by the literature, the PhDs. The aim of the paper is to shed light on the mobility pattern of Italian PhDs, paying attention to PhDs from Southern Italy. This aim will be pursued by using microdata from the 2014 ISTAT Survey on the professional conditions of Italian PhDs at 4 and 6 years after the end of their studies.This work highlights that Southern PhDs have higher probability to move to other area of the countries, while Northern PhDs seem to prefer to move abroad thus confirming previous studies which identified a similar pattern for graduates. While the Northern part of the country compensate the drain of human capital with the mobility from the other part of Italy, the Southern face a relevant drain of ‘talents’.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20705948v12n4p748

Keywords: Mobility; PhD; high-skilled workers; simultaneous equation model; Italian Higher Education System; brain drain

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