This study extends the literature on the role of institutional quality in international migration to an under-researched aspect: the intention of international migrants to return to the home country. We examined whether the perception of differences in institutional quality between OECD destination countries and Vietnam and the stated importance attached to such differences influence the intention of Vietnamese migrants to return home. We used data from a web-based survey (N = 159) conducted in 2016. The countries where the respondents resided comprised approximately 90% of the Vietnamese diaspora in the world. We considered six different dimensions of institutional quality. We found, both descriptively and by means of weighted logistic regression analysis, that Vietnamese migrants who perceive a greater difference in institutional quality between the destination country and Vietnam are less likely to report intentions to return. This effect is stronger for those who attach greater importance to institutional quality. However, gender shows notable heterogeneity, with the effects of institutional quality being more robust and closer to the theoretical expectations for men than for women.
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Case studies of return intentions include: Turkish immigrants in Germany (Tezcan 2019); Moroccans in Italy (Paparusso and Ambrosetti 2017); immigrants and refugees in the Netherlands (de Vroome and van Tubergen 2014); Central Asian migrant women in Moscow (Agadjanian et al. 2014); Estonian migrants in Finland (Anniste and Tammaru 2014); skilled migrants from Turkey (Güngör and Tansel 2014); international students in the United States (Alberts and Hazen 2005); and skilled Hong Kong immigrants in Australia (Mak 1997).
For a study of the impact of diasporas on institutional quality in home countries, see Tran et al. (2021).
The full questionnaire is available at https://bit.ly/2OG8bPj.
New Zealand is the country where the research was based and it was therefore possible to conduct a postal survey there. Hard copies of the questionnaire were distributed to Vietnamese associations in New Zealand to recruit respondents to the extent that they were able to do so. The New Zealand respondents were also asked to state their willingness to pay for higher institutional quality in Vietnam in terms of an acceptable reduction in their desired wage (see Tran et al. 2019b).
Regressions were conducted in Stata 15. The programming code and data are available from the authors upon request.
These differences are statistically significant at the 1% level.
Principal component analysis is a dimensionality-reduction method that is often used to produce low-dimensional representations for datasets that contain various interrelated variables. This reduction is achieved by creating new uncorrelated variables, i.e., the principal components, that successively maximize variance (Jolliffe 2002). One criterion for selecting the optimal number of principal components is that all eigenvalues are greater than one.
Definitions of each of the six dimensions of institutional quality and a full description of the indicator variables assigned to the six dimensions are available at: https://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/Home/Documents.
“Don’t know” and missing answers do not alter the value of the index.
The results of robustness checks are available upon request from the authors.
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Tran, N.T.M., Cameron, M.P. & Poot, J. Perception of institutional quality differences and intention of migrants to return home: a case study of Vietnamese diaspora. Asia-Pac J Reg Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41685-021-00212-9
- Return migration intention
- Institutional quality