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

Listed author(s):
  • Mercier, Marion

    ()

    (Université Paris-Dauphine)

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
Publication status: published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2016, 122.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7780
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  1. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Sara Salomone, 2012. "Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. The Case of Female Political Empowerment," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_058, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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  11. Dreher, Axel & Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M. & Somogyi, Frank, 2009. "The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 169-193, March.
  12. Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Democracy and Foreign Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 528-543, March.
  13. Caglar Ozden & Christopher R. Parsons & Maurice Schiff & Terrie L. Walmsley, 2011. "Where on Earth is Everybody? The Evolution of Global Bilateral Migration 1960-2000," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 12-56, May.
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  16. Pfutze, Tobias, 2012. "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-175.
  17. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 209-223.
  18. repec:cup:apsrev:v:106:y:2012:i:02:p:294-325_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
  20. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2011. "Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 77-104, May.
  21. 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.
  22. Toman Barsbai & Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch, 2017. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 36-69, July.
  23. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 209-223.
  24. Docquier, Frédéric & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rapoport, Hillel & Schiff, Maurice, 2016. "Emigration and democracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 209-223.
  25. Franck, Raphaël & Rainer, Ilia, 2012. "Does the Leader's Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education, and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 106(02), pages 294-325, May.
  26. Timothy Besley & Jose G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal‐Querol, 2011. "Do Educated Leaders Matter?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages 205-205, 08.
  27. Elisabetta Lodigiani & Sara Salomone, 2015. "Migration-induced Transfers of Norms. Political Empowerment?The case of Female Political Empowerment," Working Papers 2015:19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
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