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What affects international migration of European science and engineering graduates?

  • Grip Andries de
  • Fouarge Didier
  • Sauermann Jan

    (ROA rm)

In public policy, international migration of scientists and engineers is often seen as achance of recruiting the most talented and productive workers. However, it can alsobe a risk in terms of loosing a country’s talented workers. In this paper, we analysemigration of graduates from science and engineering studies from nine Europeancountries. Using a dataset with information on personal characteristics, previousmigration experience, as well as study- and work-related variables, we analyse thedeterminants of migrating to the country of the first job and to the country of subsequentjobs after graduation. We find that not only wage gains are driving the migrationdecision. Differences in labour market opportunities related to R&D spending area strong predictor of future migration. Furthermore, past migration experiences arerelated to a higher probability of labour migration. Moreover, we find evidence ofselective migration: the best graduates are most likely to migrate. Contrary to ourexpectation, qualitative aspects of the job match such as the utilisation of skills in thejob and involvement in innovation hardly seem to matter in the decision whetheror not to migrate. Interestingly, the wage level affects migration towards countriesin continental Europe, whereas Anglo-Saxon countries seem to attract migrants duetheir larger R&D intensity.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 006.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2008006
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