This paper looks at a little-explored role that universities can play: that of representing a channel for brain gain, enabling regions to attract bright students who may decide to stay after they have graduated. In this way, universities can be a source of selective migration processes and possibly of diverging development paths, by augmenting the capability of economically dynamic regions to attract bright people from the lagging regions. In this paper, we argue that student mobility behaviour is a function not only of the quality of universities, but also of local labour market conditions in the destination locations. The paper relies on a gravity model, and shows that graduate migrations respond to several determinants, among which graduate job vacancies (that is, the dynamism of the local labour market) appear to be essential.
With Ugo Fratesi, Camilla Lenzi and Marco Percoco, published in Spatial Economic Analysis.