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

  • Marion Mercier

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme - Institut de recherche pour le développement [IRD], PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

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 e ffect of the leader having studied abroad on the level of democracy in his country during his tenure. This e ffect 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 con rmed by various robustness tests. They propose a new channel through which migration may a ect politics in the sending countries, namely the emergence of the elites.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00907277.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00907277
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  1. 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.
  2. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2011. "Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011004, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Frédéric Docquier & Elisabetta Lodigiani & Hillel Rapoport & Maurice Schiff, 2011. "Emigration and democracy," Working Papers 2011-02, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  4. Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Democracy and Foreign Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 528-43, March.
  5. 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.
  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. 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.
  8. Pfutze, Tobias, 2012. "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-175.
  9. 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.
  10. repec:cai:poeine:pope_802_0285 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Raphaёl Franck & Ilia Rainer, 2012. "Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2012-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
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