Discussion paper

DP5934 Democracy and Foreign Education

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.


Spilimbergo, A (2006), “DP5934 Democracy and Foreign Education”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 5934. https://cepr.org/publications/dp5934