A dynamic analysis of international student flows at the tertiary level

Low, Reuben (2009). A dynamic analysis of international student flows at the tertiary level Honours Thesis, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Low, Reuben
Thesis Title A dynamic analysis of international student flows at the tertiary level
School, Centre or Institute School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Total pages 140
Subjects 1402 Applied Economics
Formatted abstract This thesis examines the macroeconomic factors influencing both aggregate and bilateral student flows. Specific factors 'pushing' students overseas and 'pulling' students into a country are examined in separate Push and Pull models. A Net Outflow model is also used to determine whether each factor's 'push' or 'pull' effect dominates.

While these models analyse aggregate student flows, a Bilateral Flow Model is employed to examine bilateral student flows between country pairs. It controls for cross-country differences while enabling the use of a gravity model that accounts for geographical distance and socioeconomic factors (such as language differences and colonial links). The models in this thesis are estimated in both static and dynamic panel settings using Fixed Effects and System GMM estimators.

Our findings are generally consistent as well as robust across all of the models and sub-groups. Past student flows appear to be the best predictor of future student flows and this is expected given the effects of networks, reputational factors and the average length of most degree programmes. A country's population size is another key determinant of student flows and its estimates suggest that a country's population better represents its supply of rather than demand for education.

Income differences also play a role in student mobility and high income countries have an advantage in the education market. Although a country's trade openness leads to increases in student flows, its impact is minimal at best.
The results also suggest that English-speaking countries have an advantage in the market as they tend to receive the most student inflows, implying that degree programmes should be delivered in English for countries hoping to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Given the emergence of economies like China and India, the findings of this thesis may have significant implications for both exporters and importers of education services as competition for international students is expected to intensify in the near future.


 
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