Top Talent, Elite colleges, and Migration: Evidence from the Indian Institutes of Technology

Prithwiraj Choudhury, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We study migration in the right tail of the talent distribution using a novel dataset of Indian high school students taking the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), a college entrance exam used for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). We find a high incidence of migration after students complete college: among the top 1000 scorers on the exam, 36% have migrated abroad, rising to 62% for the top 100 scorers. We next document that students who attended the original “Top 5” Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) were 5 percentage points more likely to migrate for graduate school compared to equally talented students who studied in other institutions. We explore two mechanisms for these patterns: signaling, for which we study migration after one university suddenly gained the IIT designation; and alumni networks, using information on the location of IIT alumni in U.S. computer science departments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103120
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Volume164
Early online date2 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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