The other side of the brain drain: Foreign diplomas and socio-economic attainment of israeli professionals

Abraham Yogev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reverse side of the brain drain issue pertains to the influx of professional immigrants and returning citizens who underwent their professional training abroad into less developed countries. The influence of foreign diplomas on the socio-economic achievements of such professionals has not yet been studied. The dependent economy approach suggests that professionals whose diplomas were obtained in developed countries may gain a labour market advantage over indigenous diploma holders. Yet the credential society thesis predicts a similar treatment of credential holders, regardless of where their diplomas were obtained, within the framework of power relations of the local status groups. Using the 1984 survey of post-secondary and academic degree holders, conducted by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, our discriminant analysis reveals that diploma holders from European and American countries gained some advantage in occupational attainment, but not in income, over those whose diplomas were granted in African and Asian countries, including Israel. This advantage cannot be explained by the different specialisations of professionals in different countries. It disappears, however, under control of socio-demographic characteristics, which explain variations in training countries among age, ethnic and status groups of the professionals, and independently influence their occupational attainment. The study thus supports the credential society thesis: although Israeli professionals, for various reasons, obtained their diplomas in different countries, their educational credentials are similarly treated in the Israeli labour market, in accordance with the local structure of status groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-448
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992


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