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Does it pay to study abroad? Evidence from Poland

Jacek Liwiński (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 4 February 2019




The purpose of this paper is to identify the impact of international student mobility (ISM) on the first wages of tertiary education graduates in Poland.


The author uses data from the nationwide tracer survey of Polish graduates (2007 Graduate Tracer Study) and regresses the hourly net wage rate of salaried workers in their first job after graduating from a higher education institution on a rich set of individual characteristics. In order to reduce the bias due to selection to ISM, the author includes a set of variables representing abilities and skills, characteristics of studies, and international experience as control variables. The author addresses the possible selection to employment bias by using the Heckman correction.


After controlling for observed heterogeneity, the author finds that Polish graduates who studied abroad for at least one month earn on average 22 per cent more in their first job than those who studied in Poland only. However, the author also finds that this wage premium is explained by international economic migration after graduation. Studying abroad brings a wage premium only if it is followed by working abroad. Those who perform their first job in Poland do not obtain any wage premium from ISM.


The main contribution of the paper is that it identifies international economic migration after graduation as another mechanism explaining why those who studied abroad earn more.



Liwiński, J. (2019), "Does it pay to study abroad? Evidence from Poland", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 525-555.



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