IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Internationalisation of Education and Returns in the Labour Market


  • Poot, Jacques

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Roskruge, Matthew

    () (University of Waikato)


The education services provided in any given country increasingly contribute to human capital that is employed in another country. On the one hand, graduates may seek to obtain the highest return to the knowledge they gained in their home country by working abroad. On the other hand, some students purchase educational services abroad and will subsequently work abroad, or return home to utilize the internationally acquired knowledge in the domestic labour market. In this paper we use data from the 2006-07 Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey in New Zealand to examine how years of foreign and domestic education affect earnings in the labour market. We account for differences in innate ability by aggregating subjective responses to pertinent questions in the survey and by incorporating parents' educational background. Our findings reconfirm the extensive evidence that education gained in a country of birth has generally a lower return in a foreign labour market than the native born receive in this labour market for the equivalent education. Post-settlement education in the host country has a higher return for migrants than for comparable native born. We also find that the highest returns are obtained among those who, after studying abroad, return home to work – a fact for which there has been to date scarce evidence. Thus, exposure to foreign education can lead to a triple gain: for the country where the education is obtained, for the students' home country and for the students themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7696

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garry F. Barrett, 2012. "The Return to Cognitive Skills in the Australian Labour Market," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 1-17, March.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-251, April.
    4. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2011. "The microeconomic determinants of emigration and return migration of the best and brightest: Evidence from the Pacific," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 18-29, May.
    5. Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 820-867, October.
    6. Jan Bergerhoff & Lex Borghans & Philipp Seegers & Tom Veen, 2013. "International education and economic growth," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-13, December.
    7. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 339-375, May.
    8. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    9. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    10. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-651, September.
    11. Jeffrey S. Zax & Daniel I. Rees, 2002. "IQ, Academic Performance, Environment, and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 600-616, November.
    12. Dustmann, Christian & Fadlon, Itzhak & Weiss, Yoram, 2011. "Return migration, human capital accumulation and the brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 58-67, May.
    13. Karin Mayr & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Return Migration as Channel of Brain Gain," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0804, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    14. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    15. Ana Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2008. "Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 186-216, February.
    16. Mats Hammarstedt & Ghazi Shukur, 2006. "Immigrants' Relative Earnings in Sweden - A Cohort Analysis," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 285-323, June.
    17. Charles M. Beach & Christopher Worswick, 1993. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 19(1), pages 36-53, March.
    18. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
    19. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:339-375 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Roskruge & Jacques Poot & Laura King, 2016. "Social capital, entrepreneurship and living standards: differences between migrants and the native born," Chapters,in: Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development, chapter 9, pages 221-254 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Jacek Liwiński, 2016. "Does it pay to study abroad? Evidence from Poland," Working Papers 2016-25, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    3. Elise S. Brezis, 2016. "Why Migrate: For Study or for Work?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-12, August.
    4. Ngoc Thi Minh Tran & Michael P. Cameron & Jacques Poot, 2017. "Local Institutional Quality and Return Migration: Evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers in Economics 17/10, University of Waikato.
    5. Matthew Roskruge & Jacques Poot & Laura King, 2016. "Social capital, entrepreneurship and living standards: differences between migrants and the native born," Chapters,in: Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development, chapter 9, pages 221-254 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    earnings; human capital; international education; selection effects;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7696. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.