David Zweig, Kang Siqin and Wang Huiyao
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
Hong Kong University, Hong Kong; Center for China’s Globalization



Reverse migration has mitigated the brain drain for many Asian countries. But can developing countries actually bring back their best overseas talent? How can this study measure the quality of that talent? And, if the best are not returning, why not? Is the ‘institutional culture’ within the scientific and 10   academic institutions the cause? The authors address these questions by comparing full-time and part-time returnees in three national programs, using each scholar’s h-Index, the impact factor of the journals in which they publish, and the annual number of publications by each researcher. The Q1 findings show that, circa 2012–13, the strongest researchers returned only 15 part-time. Second, returnees to the Chinese Academy of Sciences were weaker than returnees under national programs at universities. And third, universities whose presidents reformed the institutional culture at the school attracted better overseas talent than other universities. The findings, then, show that resistance to institutional change can undermine a state’s effort to 20 promote its research and development while domestic reform can promote that endeavor.


Published online by Journal of Contemporary China

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