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Does skilled migration reduce investment in human capital? An investigation on educational choices in Italian regions (2001–2016)

Annamaria Nifo, Domenico Scalera () and Gaetano Vecchione

Metroeconomica, 2020, vol. 71, issue 4, 781-802

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of prospective migration on students’ investment in tertiary education. A simple theoretical model is presented in which individual educational choices, different across potential students because of heterogeneity in migration costs, are driven by expected returns and costs of tertiary education. In this framework, a larger probability of after‐graduation migration is shown to affect educational choices by both reducing the rate of enrollment at home and favoring pre‐graduation migration (i.e., enrollment at universities outside the residence region). The theoretical predictions are confirmed by the empirical investigation carried out on Italian interregional graduate migration in 2001–2016. In the lagging regions of Southern Italy, out‐migration of students and graduates, and weak incentives to acquire tertiary education turn out to bring about depletion of local human capital.

Date: 2020
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