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The development prospects of a poor country depend in part on its capacity for innovation. The productivity of its innovators depends in turn on their access to technological knowledge. The emigration of highly skilled individuals weakens local knowledge networks (brain drain), but may also help remaining innovators access valuable knowledge accumulated abroad (brain bank). The authors develop a model in which the size of the optimal innovator diaspora depends on the competing strengths of co-location and diaspora effects for accessing knowledge.
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