Image by Kerwin Elias

   Brain Drain  

  Registration deadline: Feb. 24 


The Challenge

With the recent rise of globalization and relatively straightforward immigration policies, the brain drain phenomenon and its implication have been amplified in recent decades. Highly skilled labor has naturally positioned themselves in countries with better benefits and standards of living. This often results in the imbalance of skilled labour between host and origin countries as these talents leave behind their homelands and emigrate towards more developed economies. Eventually, this imbalance would produce challenges in the origin country’s workforce and human capital resources.


This case competition aims to inspire students to investigate the impacts of brain drain on both the host and origin country. Leveraging critical analysis skills to try and determine causal effects, students will also draw up potential policies that attenuate the economic effects of brain drain. The word ‘drain’ may suggests a diminishing impact on the origin country, however, this isn’t necessarily true. We want you to research and analyze potential benefits to the origin country as well.

Each team should put themselves in the shoes of policy makers - how can each country capitalize from the natural movement of high skilled workers? How would the government balance the potential rift between existing workers and new workers?


All teams of 3-5 students will choose from 4 pairs of countries as listed on pages 7-10. Each team should only choose one pair of their choice for their submission. If you are unable to find a full group (3-5) upon registration, the UEC team will put you into groups by Feb. 25 (on a rolling basis).


With that in mind, best of luck with your research and analysis. We look forward to your team's submission. If you have any questions or submission issues, please reach out to


Stage Breakdown

Stage 1 - Contextual Research Submission

March 4th, 2022

With your group of 3 to 5, conduct research about the migration links between the countries, and other factors that cause this migratory corridor to become a challenge for both origin and guest countries. This stage will include the submission of a 1 page document (excluding cover page and citations) outlining data points, facts, and causal effect statements regarding brain drain and the migration between a pair of countries. The document must have a minimum 12 pt font size for the Times New Roman font. The document must include Chicago Style citation. This stage aims to prepare you to carry out your own relevant research, building up your university skills.


The chosen top 5 teams will be notified by March 13th, 2022 and progress to Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 2 - Slideshow Submission

March 17th, 2022

Create innovative and practical policies that can be used to improve the conditions of both countries and reduce the impact and the lop-sided benefit of brain drain. This can be done in the form of a slideshow presentation with a maximum of 15 slides. The emphasis is on improving economic conditions of both countries, and possibly more on the origin country which is losing a lot of their skilled labour force. Your policy and decision making skills are being tested here, as well your knowledge of macroeconomic objectives and global affairs.

Stage 3 - Live Presentation with Judges

March 18th, 2022

Live presentation either through Zoom or in-person depending on the situation and with appropriate accessibility to all participants, will be hosted. Along with your slideshow presentation, participants will walk through their analyses and policies that aims to attenuate the costs of the brain drain phenomenon.


Important Dates

Resources (Optional Sessions)

Deadlines/Mandatory Events

Feb.17- Information Session and Live Q&A

Feb. 23- Office Hours (over Zoom)

Feb. 28- Office Hours (over Zoom)

Mar. 1- Office Hours (over Zoom)

Feb. 24- Deadline to register (registration form)

Mar. 11- Deadline to Submit Stage 1 Contextual Research Submission

Mar. 17- Deadline to Submit Stage 2 Slideshow Submission

Mar. 18- Finale: Stage 3 Live Presentation with Judges


List of Countries

#1 - Ukraine (Origin) and Russia (Host):

In the 2000’s, the migration flows between Ukraine and Russia drastically increased, as Russia became one of the main destinations for labor migrants from Ukraine.

Until a few years ago, the steady increase in emigration from Ukraine and the subsequent loss of labor and intellectual capital were not at the forefront of the country’s concerns.Today the situation has changed, as migration flows have increased in the past few years: politicians and state authorities have injected a note of urgency in discussions of migration.


Mukomel, Vladimir, “Migration of Ukrainians to Russia in 2014–2015.” E, June 16, 2017.

“Losing Brains and Brawn: Outmigration from Ukraine.” Wilson Center. Accessed January 18, 2022.

#2 - Syria (Origin) and Turkey (Host):

Turkey now hosts the largest refugee population in the world. The Government of Turkey estimates the total number of registered Syrians under Temporary Protection at 2,225,147 according to a new Policy Note prepared by the World Bank.

The arrival of Syrian refugees is changing Turkish society and will continue to do so for at least a generation. The process of Turkish-Syrian mutual adaptation is only the latest chapter of transformation in a society that has undergone significant internal and external migrations in past decades. In 1980, a clear majority of Turks lived in rural areas; today, Turkey’s population is three-quarters urban. Syrian refugees are reinforcing this trend, with some 96 percent of them residing in urban or semi urban areas.


World Bank Group. “Turkey's Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and The Road Ahead.” World Bank. World Bank Group, January 12, 2016.

Sam Hananel, Laura Rodriguez, Max Hoffman. “Turkey's Refugee Dilemma.” Center for American Progress, October 24, 2019.

#3 - Turkey (Origin) and Germany (Host):

In 2018, over 10,000 Turkish nationals applied for residence to Germany, with overstated education qualifications, in hopes of higher standards of living. Germany and Turkey have long been the countries forming a two-way corridor for migration in large quantities. To Turkish nationals, Germany along with its EU membership has often been viewed as an ideal place for better prospects and opportunities. Highly skilled labor leaving Turkey often “blame[s] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for failing to offer qualified Turks enough prospects and even stigmatizing them.”

The rising political instability coupled with lack of prospects pushes people away from the Turkish economy and towards many countries with greater development. There were approximately 330,000 emigrants from Turkey in 2019.

An additional motivation for people to move to Germany from Turkey could be the dense population of Germans with Turkish and Ottoman descent. The already established cultural community could possibly reduce homesickness or cultural shock.


Mukomel, Vladimir, “Migration of Ukrainians to Russia in 2014–2015.” E, June 16, 2017.

“Losing Brains and Brawn: Outmigration from Ukraine.” Wilson Center. Accessed January 18, 2022.

#4 - Brazil (Origin) and the USA (Host):

Pre-pandemic (2019) applications to migrate from Brazil to the US were the highest of the decade. Rising instability, lack of support and leadership under President Jair Bolsonaro have driven skilled workers away from the nation. These factors highlighted are unfortunately few of the most commonly cited reasons for emigration.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazil’s economy experienced slow growth as unemployment rates were at 12% “despite 11 consecutive quarters of economic growth.” The underemployment and unemployment for qualified individuals rise significantly which contributes to feelings of frustration and unrest for young graduates or even highly skilled members of the workforce. Furthermore, ‘Anti-science’ stances have toughened, led by the opinions of President Bolsonaro, which will directly cause funding cuts to the science and research industry and dissuade potential talent and existing high-ranking professionals by the liberty and funding with which scientific researchers operate in the US has long been envied by the under-attack researchers and professionals in Brazil. Therefore, making the US an enticing place for highly skilled Brazilians.


“Brazil's Brain Drain Is Getting Worse.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. Accessed January 18, 2022.

Scalzaretto, Natália, and Natália Scalzaretto. “How Economic Struggles Force Brazil's Brain Drain.” The Brazilian Report, January 29, 2020.


Sample Structure

The following can be used as a sample structure for your Stage 1 submission. Note that it is NOT mandatory to use the sample structure and you will not gain a score advantage for use of this structure.

    • Have a title page, with your names, university email addresses, and choice of countries (not included in the 2 page limit)

    • Analyze the reason you chose the two countries with regard to the policies their governments have implemented. Explain the economic structures of each country and how the policies have individually affected them. Discuss each policies’ anticipated and true effects on certain macroeconomic indicators

    • Use statistics, figures, and tables from reliable sources such as government websites, IMF, World Bank, etc

    • Appropriate Citations (not included in the 2 page limit)


Pair of Country Chosen-

Group members: <First_name Last_name>, <First_name Last_name>...

University email addresses

In April 2011, just weeks after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s response to anti-regime demonstrations throughout Syria turned violent, the first group of 252 Syrian refugees arrived in Turkey. At that time, Syrians could enter Turkey without a visa, and Ankara soon announced it would pursue an open-door policy for the refugees.


Causes and effects

The Syrian refugee crisis directly contributes to two interconnected consequences. The first is the ‘brain drain’, the loss of skill sets, knowledge base, and human capital that results from the emigration of such a massive amount of people.


The second consequence of this exodus has to do with the displacement taking place at a time at which the crisis in Syria is increasingly being framed in sectarian ways. Most of the previous waves of mass migration out of Syria in the past century occurred during eras of rising Syrian and Arab nationalist sentiment. The hollowing out of the population under these circumstances coupled with the rise of the armed groups and the entrepreneurs of war silenced the voices of those who are advocating a national Syrian project.

1.8 million Syrian people have found refuge in Turkey. [...] These inflows (Syrian refugees) drastically changed the level and composition of Turkish employment with particularly negative effects on Turkish workers in informal jobs (particularly women), the low educated, and those working in agriculture. Other points the sample essay may touch on:

    • Refugees disproportionately migrate to Turkish sub-regions that experience unobserved positive shocks to economic conditions

    • There is extensive displacement of Turkish workers by Syrian refugees with the negative impact greater on those who are classified as unpaid employees, and negative employment effects on those in part-time work.

    • Even as employment rates decrease due to the arrival of refugees, unemployment rates also decrease at about the same rate

    • Women experience very large reductions in informal employment and fieldwork without a corresponding increase in formal and regular employment

    • Resulting average wage increase is likely due to the fact that those who have experienced wage losses exit the labour market

    • Increased demand for higher-quality formal jobs that are filled by Turkish workers




Omar S. Dahi. “The Brain Drain and the Future of Syria.” Fondazione Internazionale Oasis. Accessed January 20, 2022.

Ximena V. Del Carpio; Mathis Wagner. “The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Turkish Labour Market.” GSDRC, September 29, 2015.


Grading Rubric

Stage 1 (Total Points Attainable - 100)


Statistics: Use of appropriate statistics to reinforce the argument

Comparative Analysis:

    • Appropriate and factual comparison of anticipated and true changes to macroeconomic indicators for each individual country

    • Appropriate comparison of highlighted policies between countries

    • Logical Reasoning behind the decoded patterns

    • Relating back to Macroeconomics concepts and theories


Sources: Information is acquired from a wide range of credible sources

(Eg. Databases, News Channels, Websites, Videos, etc)


Use of Economic Terminology: Consistently demonstrates appropriate use of

economic terminology. Terms are correctly defined


Citation: Correct Chicago Style Citation










Stage 3 (Total Points Attainable - 100)


Economics knowledge and understanding: Demonstrates and applies

macroeconomic concepts and theories in a clear and effective manner for

chosen countries

Analysis: Connections to real-world examples are made to support policy

choices and arguments

Creativity: Proposition of a creative and innovative solution to the brain


Organization: Strategically organized and clear final PowerPoint presentation

Use of visuals: an engaging & creative presentation

Interactions: Response to questions from judges and other teams is well


Delivery: Demonstrates confidence, teamwork & clarity in speaking

Judge’s favorite: Judge's will choose their favorite presentation











Prize Structure

The top 3 teams will have a chance to learn from industry professionals who will also be evaluating and judging their policies and distributing awards on the day awards ceremony. The awards are as follows:

First Place: $1500 cash

Second Place: $700 cash

Third Place: $350 cash


*Please note: the focus of this case competition is not to give money and prizes away to students, but rather provide students an opportunity to apply their Economics knowledge to real life! The winning teams will be announced at the end of the event on the same day! 



1. Who is eligible?

The challenge is open to all undergraduate students who are registered in full time or part-time studies at an accredited Canadian University. You can enter as a group of 3 - 5 students. Alternatively, if you do not have a group, indicate the number of group members on the registration form (1 member for self-registered student, and 2 members for a partial group) and you will be assigned a full group. Make sure to fill in the details in the registration form to participate!


2. What is the mode of submission?

All submissions will be through email to appropriately maintain records ( Before submission, each individual must register on the registration form. The google form will include general admin questions about team member info and contact details.


3. Can my group submit a joint solution with another group?

No, all submissions should be made without collaboration of any kind between other registered teams. If two or more teams submit presentations that are far too similar, they will all be disqualified.


4. Are we allowed to submit more than one unique submission? Can my group resubmit my presentation as long as it is before the final deadline?

No. Each team will only be allowed one unique submission for grading. If you need to resubmit the same unique submission, as long as it is before the deadline, the latest submission will be considered as the final submission. However, please kindly let us know when you have resubmitted your presentation. Submissions should be sent through the email to


5. I have submitted my presentation but haven’t received a confirmation email from the UEC. What should I do?

If you haven’t received a confirmation of the submission email after 72 hours of submitting your paper/presentation, kindly email the UEC Team at immediately to request a submission confirmation.