By Diksha Babbar
EPRG Outreach, The Economics Society
This semester Dr. Ian Smith from the School of Economics and Finance has organised a weekly Economics book club. The main aim of the event is to encourage discussion on current economic issues amongst students passionate about economics. The book club is not restricted to Economics students, but is open for one and all! The first week involved a discussion on the recent book by Scottish Nobel Prize Winner Angus Deaton on health, wealth and inequality. Last time’s topic was on ‘Migration, it’s economics and social effects’. Before the session we read two articles to prepare for the discussion: “The brain drain from developing countries” by Frederic Docquier and “Setting policy on asylum: Has the EU got it right?” by Tim Hatton.
Migration is one of the topics of concern in today’s rat race competition, where everyone is aiming for the stars. Migrating to foreign countries has its own pros and cons. It can prove to be both a boon for developed countries and a problem for developing countries. For many developed countries the emigration rate of highly educated labor is optimal, but the brain drain seems to exceed the point of optimality for poor countries.
The point about brain drain led to some debate. Some argued policymakers should govern the level of migration from their country to monitor whether migration can lead to any problems, benefits or prove to be neutral for the country. It was especially interesting to see how the diversity of students brought new perspectives to the topic. Another point raised was the social cost of returning retired migrants combined with the loss of young adults.
I found the experience very rewarding since the goal seemed to simply be gaining knowledge and being exposed to different perspectives without pressure to memorize facts. As one of the students said, the discussion was both enjoyable and relaxed.
I am looking forward to this week’s topic on the gender pay gap and shadow economy and would definitely recommend going!