Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labour Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of ERASMUS


  • We thank the editor Marianne Bertrand, two anonymous referees, David Card, Pedro Carneiro, Christian Dustmann, Hilary Hoynes, Victor Lavy, Costas Meghir, Enrico Moretti, Steve Pischke and seminar participants at UC Berkeley, LSE, UCL, the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, the EEA 2007 congress, the Arne Ryde Symposium in Lund and the Cesifo 8th Venice Summer Institute for helpful comments and suggestions. We would especially like to thank Kolja Briedis, Gregor Fabian, Christian Kerst, Karl-Heinz Minks, Hildegard Schaeper and Andrä Wolter at HIS for their hospitality and the access to the graduate survey data. We also thank the SOKRATES/ERASMUS Unit at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the provision of data on the ERASMUS programme, especially Marie Johann and Bettina Morhard. The views expressed in this article are our own and do not necessarily correspond to the views of HIS or DAAD.


We investigate the effect of studying abroad on international labour market mobility later in life for university graduates. We exploit the introduction and expansion of the European ERASMUS student exchange programme as an instrument for studying abroad. We find that studying abroad increases an individual's probability of working in a foreign country by about 15 percentage points. We investigate heterogeneity in returns according to parental education and the student's financial situation. Furthermore, we suggest mechanisms through which the effect of studying abroad may operate.