October 2013

IZA DP No. 7675: Do Study Abroad Programs Enhance the Employability of Graduates?

revised version published in: Education, Finance & Policy, 2015, 10 (2), 223-243

Despite the great popularity of international educational mobility schemes, relatively little research has been conducted to explore their benefits. Using data on a large sample of recent Italian graduates, this paper investigates the extent to which participation in study abroad programs during university studies impacts subsequent employment likelihood. To address the problem of endogeneity related to participation in study abroad programs, we use university-department fixed effects and instrumental variable estimation where the instrumental variable is exposure to international student exchange schemes. Our estimates show that studying abroad has a relatively large and statistically meaningful effect on the probability of being in employment 3 years after graduation. This effect is mainly driven by the impact that study abroad programs have on the employment prospects of graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds.