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The Return of the Prodigy Son: Do Return Migrants Make Better Leaders?

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  • Mercier, Marion

    ()
    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of political leaders' migration experience on the quality of their leadership. We build up an original database on the personal background of 932 politicians who were at the head of the executive power in a developing country over the 1960-2004 period. We put forward a positive effect of the leader having studied abroad on the level of democracy in his country during his tenure. This effect is shown to be independent from the leader's education level, as well as from his profession. Moreover, it is mainly driven by countries with a poor initial level of democracy. These results are confirmed by various robustness tests. They propose a new channel through which migration may affect politics in the sending countries, namely the emergence of the elites.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7780.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7780

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Keywords: political leaders; migration; democracy; developing countries;

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References

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  1. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  2. Batista, Catia & Vicente, Pedro C, 2011. "Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Chauvet, Lisa & Mercier, Marion, 2014. "Do return migrants transfer political norms to their origin country? Evidence from Mali," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12585, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Mahmoud, Toman Omar & Rapoport, Hillel & Steinmayr, Andreas & Trebesch, Christoph, 2014. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," IZA Discussion Papers 7980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Raphaёl Franck & Ilia Rainer, 2012. "Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2012-06, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  6. Dreher, Axel & Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M. & Somogyi, Frank, 2009. "The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 169-193, March.
  7. Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Democracy and Foreign Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 528-43, March.
  8. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Sara Salomone, 2012. "Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. The Case of Female Political Empowerment," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_058, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  9. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
  10. Frédéric Docquier & Elisabetta Lodigiani & Hillel Rapoport & Maurice Schiff, 2011. "Emigration and Democracy," Development Working Papers 307, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 09 May 2011.
  11. Cécily Defoort, 2008. "Long-term trends in international migration : an analysis of the six main receiving countries," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 63(2), pages 285-317.
  12. Pfutze, Tobias, 2012. "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-175.
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