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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 - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

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. Catia Batista & Pedro Vicente, 2009. "Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp313, IIIS.
  2. Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2006. "Democracy and Foreign Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 5934, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Frédéric Docquier & Elisabetta Lodigiani & Hillel Rapoport & Maurice Schiff, 2011. "Emigration and democracy," Working Papers 2011-02, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  5. Pfutze, Tobias, 2012. "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-175.
  6. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Sara Salomone, 2012. "Migration-Induced Transfers of Norms. The Case of Femal Political Empowerment," Development Working Papers 343, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 13 Nov 2012.
  7. repec:cai:poeine:pope_802_0285 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Chauvet, Lisa & Mercier, Marion, 2014. "Do return migrants transfer political norms to their origin country? Evidence from Mali," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 630-651.
  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. Axel Dreher & Michael J. Lamla & Sarah M. Rupprecht & Frank Somogyi, 2006. "The impact of political leaders’ profession and education on reforms," KOF Working papers 06-147, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  11. Toman Omar Mahmoud & Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch, 2013. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," Kiel Working Papers 1869, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  12. 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.
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