Type: Seminar

Do employers value return migrants? An experiment on the returns to foreign work experience

Paolo Abarcar, PhD candidate, University of Michigan

Date & time

Oct 1, 2015, 4:00-5:30 pm EDT

Do Employers Value Return Migrants? An Experiment on the Returns to Foreign Work Experience”

Abstract: Return migration is a potentially important channel through which migrant-sending countries stand to benefit from international migration. Yet to date, its consequences for return migrants and domestic labor markets remain poorly understood. What is the value of return migrants, and the foreign work experience they bring, to domestic employers? I conduct an audit study in the Philippines, sending over 8,000 fictitious resumes in response to online job postings across multiple occupations. Resumes are randomly assigned varying lengths of foreign work experience, among other things. I find that employers appear to disfavor return migrants: workers with foreign experience receive 12 percent fewer callbacks than non-migrants, with callback rates lower for those who have spent a longer time abroad. I offer evidence of the importance of location-specific human capital and suggest that its value possibly deteriorates as a worker spends time away from the domestic economy.


The Economic Development Seminar (EDS) is open to graduate students and faculty engaged in economic development and research. 

For questions regarding the Economic Development Seminar series, please contact: Thaya Rowe, IPC Administrator, [email protected] or 734-647-3429