Why do Students Migrate? Where do they Migrate to?
The flow of students has grown very rapidly these last decades, and in some regions, has become twice as important as the flows of those seeking work. The purpose of this study is to explore the elements affecting students’ decision on migration. The two main elements affecting migration are wages, and quality of education. It should be stressed that the countries with the highest-quality education are not necessarily those with high wages. Therefore there is a need to explore whether it is quality of higher education or wage levels that determine the direction of student flows. First, we develop a simple two-stage model relating decisions on educational choices to those on job search. Our model shows that student migration is towards countries with the highest quality of higher education. In the second part of this study, we empirically investigate our theoretical model using a panel data on European OECD countries. We use the Bologna process to outline which of the elements, wages or educational quality, determines the direction of flows. We find strong evidence of concentration of students in countries with high-quality education and not in high-wage countries.
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