Latin America Savors Reverse Brain Drain

Latin America Savors Reverse Brain Drain

Why would someone from an immigrant family give up the American dream to return to their home country? The question is self-absorbed; the answer has something to do with the intrinsic lure of opportunity, mixed with push-them-out politics. Colombia and Peru afford two examples in Latin America. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of thousands left Bogota and Lima to escape debilitating narco-economies. Now their children are returning home to start new companies, often in the technology and export sectors. Low-cost labor is an incentive. The endorphins that are generated by pioneering a business in the motherland may be another. Among the good news, reverse brain-drain is creating specific opportunities for emerging-market investors, given the commercial leverage afforded by the knowledge-transfer process. The risk centers on the small and medium-sized nature of these firms.

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