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The impact of Brexit on International Students’ Return Intentions

Author

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  • Falkingham, Jane
  • Giulietti, Corrado
  • Wahba, Jackline
  • Wang, Chuhong

Abstract

This paper is the first attempt to study the causal impact of “Brexit”, namely the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), on the post-graduation mobility decisions of EU students in the UK. We exploit the British government’s formal withdrawal notification under Article 50 as a natural experiment and employ a difference-in-differences design. Using data from a new survey of graduating international students, we find that EU graduating students are significantly more likely than non-EU graduating students to plan on leaving the UK upon graduation immediately after the announcement. Interestingly, results are especially driven by students from the new EU countries and students from the EU14 countries who are undecided of their migration plans. We further show that the deterrent effects are heterogeneous and depend on age and subject among others. These findings carry important implications for post-Brexit UK and for other European countries with emerging calls for their own referendums.

Suggested Citation

  • Falkingham, Jane & Giulietti, Corrado & Wahba, Jackline & Wang, Chuhong, 2019. "The impact of Brexit on International Students’ Return Intentions," GLO Discussion Paper Series 342, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:342
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    Keywords

    Brexit; Article 50; Higher education; International students; Intention to leave;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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