Brain Circulation and the Role of Diasporas in the Balkans


This report is the final product of the two-year-long RRPP regional research project Brain Circulation and the Role of Diasporas in the Balkans – Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo

The research was jointly conducted by the Faculty of Business and Economics in South East European University as a coordinating host institution, and as regional partners the Faculty of economics in University of Tirana, and Riinvest Institute in Prishtina.

Summary of Results / Study Preface

The high propensity of students who consider emigration primarily as a temporary move for educational purposes seems to be the most striking result. It is striking because the result is so clear, and it is striking because it contrasts with the widespread view that young people from the Balkan region are mainly driven by dissatisfaction at home and lured by unrealistic expectations of a better life abroad.

In stark contrast to this view, the study shows that the rationale and intentions of students are closely linked to the lack of educational opportunities – especially at graduate level. 

Moreover, the reputation of foreign universities is another driving force for students to seek further education abroad: in order to improve their job prospects upon return. Beyond providing expertise and know-how, studying abroad is widely considered a marker of success in itself. Recent studies in other transition or developing countries produced similar findings. The same holds true for preferred countries of destination, where an increased interest for more distant countries is observed, such as the USA and Canada, whereas the United Kingdom is favoured over the countries that dominated
(labour) migration from the Balkans, countries such as Germany, Switzerland or Italy.

Another interesting, if not counter-intuitive, result concerns the absence of gender differences in intentions to migrate for educational purposes, in all three countries researched. Female students, who form a majority among the respondents, may be less prone to emigrate for employment or to live abroad permanently, but when it comes to improving their human capital, the intentions of female students do not differ from those of male colleagues. For both groups, marital status, socio-economic level and ethnicity are much more influential in this respect than gender.

Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Desiree Pecarz on May 2, 2013
Modified on May 2, 2013