Moving, remaining, and returning: international mobility of doctorate holders in the social sciences and humanities

  • Emanuela Reale
  • Lucio Morettini
  • Antonio Zinilli


International mobility of doctorate holders is one important dimension of the general phenomenon of internationalization and globalization of research systems, which is supposed to have positive effects on economy and society. Although issues of international mobility for doctorate holders have been largely investigated, there is still relatively little information about the factors affecting those with degrees specifically in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). Considering this, the aim of the current paper is twofold: first, to investigate whether the propensity of a doctorate holder in SSH to experience a period of international mobility during the career is influenced by mobility during the educational stage; second, to examine whether the mobility after doctoral degree affects the choice of doctorates to return to their country of origin, as opposed to remaining abroad, controlling for peculiar aspects of the higher education sector of employment. The results show that international mobility during graduate education and at the moment of choosing the first job on attaining the PhD are important factors influencing the future mobility of doctorate holders in the SSH areas. These same factors also influence the individual’s propensity to diverge (continue abroad) or converge (remain, return) with respect to their initial country of employment. The results of this investigation improve our knowledge about the effects generated by the early choices of individuals, which could support decision-makers in designing instruments addressing the international mobility of doctorate holders and, when relevant, creating the conditions for their return.


Doctorate holders Knowledge circulation International mobility SSH 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emanuela Reale
    • 1
  • Lucio Morettini
    • 1
  • Antonio Zinilli
    • 1
  1. 1.CNR-IRCRES Research Institute on Sustainable Economic GrowthRomeItaly

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