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International Education and Economic Growth


  • Bergerhoff, Jan

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Borghans, Lex

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Seegers, Philipp K.

    () (Maastricht University)

  • van Veen, Tom

    () (Maastricht University)


In recent years international student mobility increased. While net hosting countries are in a better position to win highly educated students for their labour force, they face the additional cost of providing the education. In much of continental Europe these costs are not levied on students, but are borne by the national tax payers, making them an active topic of debate. Borrowing some fundamental equations from the Lucas growth model, this paper addresses the question whether countries benefit from educating international students. We derive conditions under which international education has a positive effect on economic growth, overall and in each specific country. Based on empirically motivated parameter values to calibrate our two-country model we find that international student mobility increases steady state growth for both countries on average by 0.013 percentage points. A small country that is favoured by the inflows of a larger country could experience an extra growth of 0.049 percentage points. The benefits from international education increase when a country tunes its education and migration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Bergerhoff, Jan & Borghans, Lex & Seegers, Philipp K. & van Veen, Tom, 2013. "International Education and Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 7354, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7354

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2006. "Assessing the returns to studying abroad," CPB Discussion Paper 64, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    2. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    3. Lydia Mechtenberg & Roland Strausz, 2008. "The Bologna process: how student mobility affects multi-cultural skills and educational quality," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(2), pages 109-130, April.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    5. Govert Bijwaard, 2010. "Immigrant migration dynamics model for The Netherlands," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(4), pages 1213-1247, September.
    6. Agar Brugiavini & Franco Peracchi, 2005. "The Length of Working Lives in Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 477-486, 04/05.
    7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On the benefits of an international education
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-06-03 19:59:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Cristian Ciucu & Raluca Dragoescu, 2014. "The Influence of Education on Economic Growth," Global Economic Observer, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences;Institute for World Economy of the Romanian Academy, vol. 2(1), pages 243-257, May.
    2. Perna, Laura W. & Orosz, Kata & Jumakulov, Zakir, 2015. "Understanding the human capital benefits of a government-funded international scholarship program: An exploration of Kazakhstan's Bolashak program," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 85-97.
    3. Poot, Jacques & Roskruge, Matthew, 2013. "Internationalisation of Education and Returns in the Labour Market," IZA Discussion Papers 7696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:98:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1130-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    economic growth; international education; economics of education;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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