Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Xiushi Yang

Committee Member

Leon Bouvier

Committee Member

Chandra de Silva


This dissertation looks at the topic of brain drain from a new lens. It departs from the traditional literature to include discussion on brain gain and brain circulation using Indian migration to the United States as case study. While it cannot be denied that host countries have policies that encourage or provide the necessary conditions for brain drain to take place, it must be taken into account that many source countries now benefit from out-migration of their workers and students. These are usually measured as remittances, investments and savings associated with return, and network approaches that, with a connectionist approach, link expatriates with their country of origin. In addition, Diaspora members, through successes and visibility in host societies, further influence economic and political benefits for their home countries. This type of brain gain can be considered as element of soft power for the source country in the long term. Three hypotheses are tested in this dissertation to argue the points above. Using India as source country, the first hypothesis positively tested that benefits outweigh the cost of out-migration, with India as the highest remittance receiving country in the world with multifaceted connections in the Silicon Valley. The second hypothesis accessed the leverage of the Indo-American community as strong in terms of wealth and education. However, the possibility of this changing the asymmetrical interdependent relationship between India and the U.S. in favor of India remains at best a possibility in the long term. The third hypothesis also positively tested that a more active role played by the state in the sending country determines the level of return and non-return benefits. The dissertation also notes that while these hypotheses may be true for a country like India, where many other factors play a role, it may not necessarily affect other less developing countries in a similar vein. Additionally, third generation Indo-Americans may not necessarily retain the same ties as were seen by the first and second generations. Thus direct benefits in the long term may differ in result.