DP5934 Democracy and Foreign Education

Author(s): Antonio Spilimbergo
Publication Date: November 2006
Keyword(s): democracy, development, education, institutions, international students
JEL(s): D72, D74, H11
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5934

Do foreign educated individuals play a role in promoting democracy in their home country? Despite the large amount of private and public resources spent on foreign education, there is no systematic evidence that foreign educated individuals foster democracy in their home countries. Using a unique panel dataset on foreign students starting from 1950, I show that indeed foreign-educated individuals promote democracy in their home country, but only if the foreign education is acquired in democratic countries. The results are robust to reverse causality, country-specific omitted variables, and inclusion of a variety of control variables. The results are stronger for small countries.