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Higher Education

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 647–663 | Cite as

Are student exchange programs worth it?

  • Dolores Messer
  • Stefan C. Wolter
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

The number of university students participating in exchange programs has risen sharply over the last decade. A survey of Swiss university graduates (classes of 1999 and 2001) shows that participation in student exchange programs depends significantly on the socio-economic background of students. We further analyze whether the participants benefit from additional advantages caused by these exchange programs. Analyses show that student exchange programs are associated with higher starting salaries and a higher likelihood of opting for postgraduate degrees. Analyses using instrumental variable estimations (IV), however, show that these outcomes are not causally related to participation in exchange programs.

Keywords

Exchange semester ERASMUS Graduate survey Instrumental variables Switzerland 

JEL codes

I23 J24 J31 J44 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Swiss Federal Office for Statistics for permission to use the data of the Swiss University Graduate Survey and Sabine Schmidlin and Philipp Dubach for advice. We are particularly grateful to Stefan Denzler of the SKBF for his assistance in processing and revising the dataset. We also thank two anonymous referees and the Editor for their helpful comments and suggestions. Any remaining errors are the sole responsibility of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.CESifoMunichGermany
  3. 3.Institute for the study of Labor (IZA)BonnGermany
  4. 4.Swiss Coordination Center for Research in Education (SKBF)AarauSwitzerland

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