The Effects of Democracy and Development on Foreign Student Rates of Non-return, 1970-2000

Faculty Research Grant
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As a collaborative interdisciplinary research endeavor, this project will make novel methodological and theoretical contributions to the study of migration. First, the study of student migration is itself relatively new scholarly territory. Only in the last ten years have scholars of migration begun to realize the importance of disaggregating the migration of already highly educated professionals from migration to become highly educated. As a result, scholars of migration still know very little about the conditions affecting educational migration. Yet international students are a burgeoning proportion of total migration flows, and of the populations at US universities (Betts and Lofstrom 2000). Second, because of data-scarcity challenges outlined below, existing studies have attempted to examine educational migration either through small and limited local samples--with significant restrictions on generalizability of findings--or via particular cohorts from national data, which restricts the differentiation of cohort or world-historical time specific trends from general trends. Third, this study will make methodological advances that differentiate between particular cohort effects (eg, how migrants from 1970 reacted to particular conditions) and the effects of political and developmental events that generalize across time and context (eg, how migrants react to popularly acclaimed democratic elections). Finally, by incorporating successive cohorts into our data set, we are able to simultaneously account for how the aggregate diasporic population (or “stock”) directly affects student migrant rates of adjustment and indirectly mediates the effects of political or economic conditions in the home country.