Supply or demand, make or buy: Two simple frameworks for thinking about a state-level brain drain policy

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This article lays out two broad criteria for crafting a particular brain drain policy at the state level. The first, which we are calling "supply or demand," asks whether a state experiencing brain drain is below average in high-tech labor demand or above average in high-tech labor supply (the latter concept measured by university enrollments). It is argued that the answer to this question matters a great deal to the policy response. The article then proposes a second, related framework for crafting brain drain policies, which is used widely in the world of business. This is whether a state should "make" or "buy" its own high-tech workers. Benchmarking data and a new review of state policy programs are then used to compare what states are doing with what they ought to be doing in light of their particular situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-315
Number of pages13
JournalEconomic Development Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


  • jobs
  • labor force issues
  • state and local economic development policy
  • university role in economic development

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