Higher Education

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 627–643

Brain gain or brain circulation? U.S. doctoral recipients returning to South Korea


DOI: 10.1007/s10734-009-9270-5

Cite this article as:
Lee, J.J. & Kim, D. High Educ (2010) 59: 627. doi:10.1007/s10734-009-9270-5


This study explored the reasons for current reverse mobility patterns in South Korea and how the country benefits from returning U.S. doctoral recipients in the forms of brain gain and brain circulation. Based on interviews of Korean faculty who studied in the U.S., this study found that while the political economy might help to explain why Korean students choose to study in the U.S., it does not fully capture their decisions to return. Family ties and cultural reasons transcended reasons related to economic mobility. The study also found that while both brain gain and brain circulation were present, brain adaptation was especially prevalent.


International students Korea Faculty Student mobility Brain gain Brain circulation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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