Cover of Global Talent by Gi-Wook Shin and Joon Nak Choi
Global Talent
Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea
Gi-Wook Shin and Joon Nak Choi

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March 2015
216 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804793490
Paper ISBN: 9780804794336

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Global Talent seeks to examine the utility of skilled foreigners beyond their human capital value by focusing on their social capital potential, especially their role as transnational bridges between host and home countries. Gi-Wook Shin and Joon Nak Choi build on an emerging stream of research that conceptualizes global labor mobility as a positive-sum game in which countries and businesses benefit from building ties across geographic space, rather than the zero-sum game implied by the "global war for talent" and "brain drain" metaphors.

The book empirically demonstrates its thesis by examination of the case of Korea: a state archetypical of those that have been embracing economic globalization while facing a demographic crisis—and one where the dominant narrative on the recruitment of skilled foreigners is largely negative. It reveals the unique benefits that foreign students and professionals can provide to Korea, by enhancing Korean firms' competitiveness in the global marketplace and by generating new jobs for Korean citizens rather than taking them away. As this research and its key findings are relevant to other advanced societies that seek to utilize skilled foreigners for economic development, the arguments made in this book offer insights that extend well beyond the Korean experience.

About the authors

Gi-Wook Shin is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

Joon Nak Choi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"Overall, this book offers theoretical lessons for general research on transnationalism and cultural and social capital of highly skilled migrants, even though it focuses most explicitly on business and labor markets. It invites the attention of policy makers and business strategists, who also appear to be its intended audience."

—Keumjae Park, International Migration Review

"Advanced economies like Korea face a growing mismatch between low birth rates and increasing demand for skilled labor. Shin and Choi use original, comprehensive data and a global outlook to provide careful, accessible and persuasive analysis. Their prescriptions for Korea and other economies challenged by high-level labor shortages will amply reward readers of this landmark study."

—Mark Granovetter, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University