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International mobility of students in Italy and the UK. Does it pay off and for whom?

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Abstract

International student mobility is the most recognised element of Erasmus+, a major EU policy. Not enough is known about the causal effect of studying abroad on labour market outcomes. This is because most of the existing studies dismiss selection bias: the different composition of students opting and not opting for studying abroad. The purpose of this paper is to answer the following three questions, whilst accounting for the selection bias into mobility. First, does international student mobility (ISM) have a positive effect on labour market outcomes? Second, do the returns to ISM vary between two countries with contrasting labour market and education systems? Third, do the returns to ISM differ according to the socio-economic background of the students? Results are compared between Italy and the UK using Italian Institute of National Statistics and UK Higher Education Statistics Agency graduate survey data. Using propensity score matching, the returns to study-related stays abroad are estimated on a set of labour market outcomes around six to twelve months and three years after graduation for undergraduates (UK and Italy) and postgraduates (Italy only). Results confirm that mobility is positively associated with the outcome variables under scrutiny. Mobile graduates benefit from slightly greater employment chances than nonmobile graduates. Returns to ISM tend to be higher among graduates in Italy. The most sizable effect is found for mobiles’ higher propensity to enroll in further studies. The latter is more likely for the socially disadvantaged graduates, which might contribute to reducing income inequality in the long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Schnepf, Sylke & d'Hombres, Beatrice, 2019. "International mobility of students in Italy and the UK. Does it pay off and for whom?," Working Papers 2019-05, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (Ispra site).
  • Handle: RePEc:jrs:wpaper:201905
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    1. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2015. "Do Study Abroad Programs Enhance the Employability of Graduates?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 223-243, March.
    2. Matthias Parey & Fabian Waldinger, 2011. "Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labour Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of ERASMUS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 194-222, March.
    3. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
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    1. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2019. "University study abroad and graduates’ employability," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 109-109, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international student mobility; mobility abroad; labour market outcomes; propensity score matching; Italy; UK;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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