Assessing the Relationship between Brain Drain and the Economy of Eswatini

Eswatini has been experiencing the brain drain phenomenon since the early 90s. Previous studies on the phenomenon attribute the brain drain to high unemployment and the labour market’s inability to absorb emaSwati. With that said, there are still no studies conducted to quantify the impacts of brain drain on the economy of the country given its upward trajectory. It is on this premise, that this paper quantifies and assess the relationship between brain drain and economic growth in the short-run. To this end, the study employs secondary annual time series data from the World Bank Indicators for the period 1991 to 2017. The study employs the Bounds approach for co-integration and the short-run Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) model as estimation techniques. The bounds test found that there is no long-run equilibrium relationship between the variables. According to the ARDL short-run model the study found that all other things being equal, when brain drain increases by 1 percent at a given time period, Gross Domestic Product increase by E171 million the following year in the short-run. Furthermore, the Granger causality test reveals an unidirectional relationship running from Gross Domestic Product to brain drain at the 1% significance level, that is, past economic growth trends is an important predictor of future brain drain trends.