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Using a dataset of 3540 economists working in 2007 in 125 of the best academic centers in 22 countries, this paper presents some evidence on spatial mobility patterns in Spain and other countries conditional on some personal, department, and country characteristics. There are productivity and other reasons for designing a scientific policy with the aims of attracting foreign talent (brain gain), minimizing the elite brain drain, and recovering nationals who have earned a Ph.D. or have spent some time abroad (brain circulation). Our main result is that Spain has more brain gain, more brain circulation and less brain drain than comparable large, continental European countries, i.e., Germany, France, and Italy, where economists have similar opportunities for publishing their research in English or in their own languages. We suggest that these results can be mostly explained by the governance changes introduced in a number of Spanish institutions in 1975-1990 by a sizable contingent of Spanish economists coming back home after attending graduate school abroad. These initiatives were also favored by the availability of resources to finance certain research-related activities, including international Ph.D. programs.