The scale of movement of students going overseas to seek higher education has increased dramatically in the past several decades. According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), there were 4.1 million students pursuing tertiary level studies abroad in 2013. Despite the numerical significance, international students remain to be an under-studied group in migration studies. Thus this study largely draws from the international South-North labor migration debate, which revolves around whether this phenomenon is good (brain gain) or bad (brain drain) for the home countries. Using a comparative case study approach, this study investigates how the governments of the home or source countries can utilize international student mobility as a tool for national development by providing professional incentives to lure students abroad to return home after completing their studies overseas. This study emphasizes the important role of government-provided professional incentives in increasing the likelihood of students to return after the completion of their studies which could lead to the economic growth of their home countries. The study concludes that the home country can experience economic growth despite the failure of government-provided incentives to entice students to return after completing their student overseas. At the same time, it also suggests that the absence of government-provided incentives is detrimental to the economic growth of the home country because it leads to a shortage in human capital as students fail to return to their home countries.


Krain, Matthew


Global and International Studies


Other International and Area Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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