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Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labor Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of ERASMUS


  • Parey, Matthias

    () (University of Essex)

  • Waldinger, Fabian

    () (University of Warwick)


We investigate the effect of studying abroad on international labor market mobility later in life for university graduates. As a source of identifying variation, we exploit the introduction and expansion of the European ERASMUS student exchange program, which significantly increases a student’s probability of studying abroad. Using an Instrument Variable approach we control for unobserved heterogeneity between individuals who studied abroad and those who did not. Our results indicate that student exchange mobility is an important determinant of later international labor market mobility: We find that studying abroad increases an individual’s probability of working in a foreign country by about 15 to 20 percentage points, suggesting that study abroad spells are an important channel to later migration. We investigate heterogeneity in returns and find that studying abroad has a stronger effect for credit constrained students. Furthermore, we suggest mechanisms through which the effect of studying abroad may operate. Our results are robust to a number of specification checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Parey, Matthias & Waldinger, Fabian, 2008. "Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labor Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of ERASMUS," IZA Discussion Papers 3430, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3430

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    1. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "How Large Is the "Brain Drain" from Italy?," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 63(1), pages 1-32, April.
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    4. Dreher, Axel & Poutvaara, Panu, 2005. "Student Flows and Migration: An Empirical Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Axel Dreher & Panu Poutvaara, 2005. "Student Flows and Migration: An Empirical Analysis�," TWI Research Paper Series 8, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
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    9. Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2011. "Does Studying Abroad Induce a Brain Drain?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(310), pages 347-366, April.
    10. Silke Uebelmesser, 2006. "To Go or Not to Go: Emigration from Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7, pages 211-231, May.
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    14. repec:brs:ecchap:12 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    student exchange; migration; international mobility; education;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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