American Economic Review: Vol. 99 No. 1 (March 2009)


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Democracy and Foreign Education

Article Citation

Spilimbergo, Antonio. 2009. "Democracy and Foreign Education." American Economic Review, 99(1): 528-43.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.528


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 in the 1950s, I show that 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 several estimation techniques, to different definitions of democracy, and to the inclusion of a variety of control variables, including democracy in trading partners, neighboring countries, level of income, and level and stock of education. (JEL D72, I21, O15, O17, P26)

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Spilimbergo, Antonio (IMF)

JEL Classifications

D72: Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
I21: Analysis of Education
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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