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

  • Mercier, Marion

    ()

    (ECARES, Free University of Brussels)

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

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7780.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7780
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2011. "Emigration and Democracy," IZA Discussion Papers 5496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2006. "Democracy and Foreign Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 5934, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Elisabetta LODIGIANI & Sara SALOMONE, 2012. "Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. The case of Female Political Empowerment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  8. Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch & Toman Omar Mahmoud, 2013. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1320, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  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. Pfutze, Tobias, 2012. "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-175.
  11. Esther Duflo & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, 2004. "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in india," Framed Field Experiments 00224, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Cécily Defoort, 2008. "Long-term trends in international migration : an analysis of the six main receiving countries," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 63(2), pages 285-317.
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