This article focuses on two Italian regional policies that aim at enhancing human-capital as a strategy for economic development. In the last 10 years, Sardegna Region and Puglia Region, two lagging Italian regional governments, invested massively their resources in order to increase the educational attainment of their graduates (i.e. PhD, second level of specialisation, etc.). Moreover, they provided funds for inclusion of highly skilled workers in the regional labour market. In their plans, these instruments should produce a human capital shock that will upgrade the regional economy. Based on original survey data on Sardinian case and on secondary source information on the Apulian policy, the paper addresses two research questions. The first question regards the effectiveness of the policies in terms of recipients’ satisfaction. The second one concerns the impact of these instruments on labour market and, more in general, on the recovering of regional economies. Results show that these policies reach a high degree of satisfaction between their recipients and, furthermore, that they extended significantly their skills. On the contrary, the impact on regional economy is uncertain. In particular, local labour markets fail in absorbing the supply of highly skilled workers and, consequently, these policies prompted the brain drain phenomenon as a side effect.
Human capital; Development policies; Brain-drain; Capability approach; Policies evaluation