Brain Drain and Low Fertility Rate Will Permanently Weaken Economy

Analysts talk about hysteresis and cite unemployment, discouragement among companies

Érica Fraga Anaïs Fernandes
São Paulo

Last year, the number of Brazilians who immigrated legally to the United States reached a record for the fourth consecutive year, according to the US government, which has recorded this data since 1991.

The trend for Brazilians to immigrate to developed countries is associated with the economic crisis and, according to experts, may represent a phenomenon known as a "brain drain."

"Generally, those who leave the country are the most qualified workers," says Bráulio Borges, an economist.

People looking for job offers in downtown São Paulo (Foto: Danilo Verpa/Folhapress, MERCADO) - Folhapress

As the most educated professionals have the greatest potential to contribute innovative ideas, their shift to other countries - definitively - undermines the potential for long-term growth.

Now economic analysts are talking about the concept of hysteresis.

The word economists borrowed from physics a few decades ago conveys the idea that crises can have a very long lasting or even permanent effect.

The image used to illustrate the concept in physics is that of a spring that, from being stretched, deforms and does not return to its original format.

According to IBGE data, the number of Brazilians unemployed for more than two years tripled from 1.1 million to 3.3 million between the last quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year.

Probably discouraged by the inability to find employment, an increasing number of people suffer from another statistic: that of discouragement.

The rate of discouraged workers also increased almost threefold, reaching 4.4% of the total number of working-age professionals in the first quarter of 2019, according to IBGE.

Prolonged withdrawal from the labor market makes workers less productive.

"After a long time, the professionals are out of date and tend to lose part of the human capital they had accumulated," says researcher Sergio Firpo.

If in the future these professionals are reabsorbed, they will probably be less efficient, limiting the growth of companies and the country.

One of the most cited statistics by economists on hysterectomy symptoms in rich countries was the change in the level of unemployment.

Like many debates in economics, it is unlikely to end as a consensual and definitive conclusion. But the existence of the discussion shows the gravity of the situation.

Another risk is the rapid drop in the fertility rate. The fear of not being able to financially support children affects family planning.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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