Return Migrants’ Self-Selection: Evidence for Indian Inventor

52 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018 Last revised: 16 Apr 2023

See all articles by Stefano Breschi

Stefano Breschi

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology

Francesco Lissoni

CRIOS - Bocconi University; University of Bordeaux - GREThA

Ernest Miguelez

University of Bordeaux

Date Written: July 2018


Based on an original dataset linking patent data and biographical information for a large sample of US immigrant inventors with Indian names and surnames, specialized in ICT technologies, we investigate the rate and determinants of return migration. For each individual in the dataset, we both estimate the year of entry in the United States, the likely entry channel (work or education), and the permanence spell up to either the return to India or right truncation. By means of survival analysis, we then provide exploratory estimates of the probability of return migration as a function of the conditions at migration (age, education, patenting record, migration motives, and migration cohort) as well as of some activities undertaken while abroad (education and patenting). We find both evidence of negative self-selection with respect to educational achievements in the US and of positive self-selection with respect to patenting propensity. Based on the analysis of time-dependence of the return hazard ratios, return work migrants appear to be negatively self-selected with respect to unobservable skills acquired abroad, while evidence for education migrants is less conclusive.

Suggested Citation

Breschi, Stefano and Lissoni, Francesco and Lissoni, Francesco and Miguelez, Ernest, Return Migrants’ Self-Selection: Evidence for Indian Inventor (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24809, Available at SSRN:

Stefano Breschi (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, MI 20136

Francesco Lissoni

CRIOS - Bocconi University

via Rontgen 1
Milan, MI 20122

University of Bordeaux - GREThA ( email )

avenue Léon Duguit
33608 Pessac cedex

Ernest Miguelez

University of Bordeaux ( email )

Avenue Léon Duguit
Bordeaux, 33000

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