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Education Policies and Migration across European Countries

Ainoa Aparicio () and Zoe Kuehn ()

CHILD Working Papers Series from Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA

Abstract: Two leading explanations as to why migration across European countries remains relatively limited are: (i) language barriers and (ii) lower educational attainment in Europe compared to the US. Both aspects are malleable via education policies which thus have the potential to affect migration. This paper tests whether and how (i) increasing the length of compulsory schooling and (ii) introducing foreign languages into compulsory school curricula, influence migration of ffected cohorts across European countries. We construct a novel data base that includes information on such education reforms for thirty-one countries spanning four decades. Combining this data with information on recent migration flows by cohorts, we find that an additional year of compulsory education reduces the number of migrants from affected cohorts by almost 14%. Increasing the length of compulsory schooling shifts educational attainment for a significant fraction of the population from low towards medium levels. Our findings are thus in line with the fact that in the majority of European countries medium educated individuals display lower emigration rates compared to low educated individuals. Introducing a foreign language into compulsory school curricula on the other hand, almost doubles the number of migrants from affected cohorts who move to the country where the language is spoken, and it increases the overall number of migrants from these cohorts by 23%.

Keywords: migration; compulsory schooling; foreign language proficiency; education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 62 pages
Date: 2016
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-int, nep-mig and nep-ure
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