Inside the fortress besieged: Will Chinese life sciences postdoctorates in the United States return to China

Yaling Xie, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The large influx of Chinese life sciences postdoctorates to the U.S. has raised concerns and stimulated a policy debate in the United States. Some researchers argue that the increasing supply worsens the scientific job market, discourages U.S. students from entering life sciences, and increases the reliance of U.S. on foreign scientific labor force. One assumption behind these concerns is that the great majority of Chinese life sciences postdoctorates will stay in the United States after the temporary postdoctoral training. There are no empirical studies, however, examine the driving force of Chinese life sciences postdoctorates' move or whether the majority of Chinese life sciences postdoctorates will stay in the U.S. after the temporary postdoctoral training. This study examines the extent to which the stay or return decisions of the Chinese life sciences postdoctorates at one Ivy League University can be explained in the labor market framework and most of them intend to return to China. ^ After describing the characteristics of Chinese life sciences postdoctorates at Penn, this study explores the reason why they choose to become a postdoctorate in the United States rather than in China and what their expectations are with respect to staying in the U.S. or retuning to China. Using the data from a survey conducted at Penn, the logit regression models indicate publication and professional network in both the U.S. and China play important roles in the postdoctorates' staying/returning decisions. The Chinese postdoctorates with more publication, stronger professional network in the U.S., and/or lower opportunity cost of working in the U.S. are more likely to be interested in staying. On the other hand, the Chinese postdoctorates with strong professional network in China are more likely to plan to return. Meanwhile, some other factors, like gender, marital status, and contact in China may override the interest and change the Chinese postdoctorates' stay or return decisions. ^

Subject Area

Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Yaling Xie, "Inside the fortress besieged: Will Chinese life sciences postdoctorates in the United States return to China" (January 1, 2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3271835.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3271835

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