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

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  • Mercier, Marion

    () (Université Paris-Dauphine)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mercier, Marion, 2013. "The Return of the Prodigy Son: Do Return Migrants Make Better Leaders?," IZA Discussion Papers 7780, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7780
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Khalifa, Sherif, 2020. "Leaders’ Foreign Travel and Democracy," MPRA Paper 98626, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Thierry Baudassé & Rémi Bazillier & Ismaël Issifou, 2018. "Migration And Institutions: Exit And Voice (From Abroad)?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 727-766, July.
    3. Michael A. Clemens, 2016. "Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(7), pages 1227-1248, October.
    4. Elisabetta Lodigiani, 2016. "The effect of emigration on home-country political institutions," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 307-307, November.
    5. Mounir Karadja & Erik Prawitz, 2019. "Exit, Voice, and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1864-1925.
    6. Naito, Takumi & Zhao, Laixun, 2020. "Capital accumulation through studying abroad and return migration," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 185-196.
    7. 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.
    8. Catia Batista & Julia Seither & Pedro C. Vicente, 2017. "Migration, political institutions, and social networks," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1701, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    9. Ademmer, Esther & Akgüç, Mehtap & Barslund, Mikkel & Di Bartolomeo, Anna & Benček, David & Groll, Dominik & Hoxhaj, Rezart & Lanati, Mauro & Laurentsyeva, Nadzeya & Lücke, Matthias & Ludolph, Lars & R, 2017. "2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe. Sharing responsibility for refugees and expanding legal immigration," MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe, Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM), number 182239.
    10. Minasyan, Anna, 2018. "US aid, US educated leaders and economic ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 244-257.
    11. Björn NILSSON, 2019. "Education and migration: insights for policymakers," Working Paper 23ca9c54-061a-4d60-967c-f, Agence française de développement.
    12. Batista, Catia & Seither, Julia & Vicente, Pedro C., 2019. "Do migrant social networks shape political attitudes and behavior at home?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 328-343.
    13. Issifou, Ismael, 2017. "Can migration reduce civil conflicts as an antidote to rent-seeking?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 333-353.
    14. Erminia Florio, 2019. "The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CEIS Research Paper 478, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 Dec 2019.
    15. 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".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    developing countries; democracy; migration; political leaders;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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