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Higher Education Policy and Migration: The Role of International Student Mobility

  • Economics
  • Education


Higher Education Policy and Migration: The Role of International Student Mobility HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY AND MIGRATION: THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MOBILITY MARTIN KAHANEC* AND RENÁTA KRÁLIKOVÁ** The need for high-skilled mobility There seems to be a broad consensus, at least among labor market experts, that high-skilled immigration is desirable for Europe (Kahanec and Zimmermann 2011). Economic theory indeed suggests that high- skilled immigration generally has positive effects on the receiving economy. It may well facilitate the in- ternational exchange of ideas, knowledge, goods and services, and capital to a greater extent than low- skilled immigration (Chiswick 2011). In view of the complementarities between high-skilled labor and skill-intensive production, success in a global market critically depends on the ability to upgrade the skills of the labor force – also by attracting high-skilled workers. Through complementarities between high and low-skilled labor, the inflow of high-skilled workers increases the demand for their less skilled colleagues, thereby not only helping to alleviate the widespread problem of low-skilled unemployment but also inequality and welfare state sustainability (Kahanec and Zimmermann 2008, 2009). International student mobility is an important chan- nel through which high-skilled immigrants arrive (Suter and Jandl 2006), and it is particularly attrac- tive in view of the high integration potential of high- skilled students (Chiswick and Miller 2011). The lit- erature points out a number of higher education po- licies that may affect international student mobility, such as tuition fees, the language of instruction or the quality of the higher education institutions (DeVoretz 2006). In this paper we look at international student mobil- ity as a channel of high-skilled immigration and iden- tify its key determinants among higher education policies. We begin by reviewing what we know about economic effects of high-skilled immigration.

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