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Speakers:  Dr. Darragh Flannery & Dr. Donal Palcic, Department of Economics, KBS and Dr John Cullinan School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway


In Ireland over 2,500 students spent at least a semester studying abroad as part of their undergraduate studies in 2016/17. The majority of these study abroad placements were in Europe as part of the EU's Erasmus programme which has seen over 60,000 students and staff from Ireland participate in mobility placements since the programme's inception in 1987. Previous studies that have explored the outcomes of such programmes have largely focused on the impact of exchange on labour market outcomes. In this paper we instead focus on the impact on academic performance. Using detailed administrative data on business studies students in the University of Limerick we examine the causal relationship between the choice to go abroad for a semester of study and the final Quality Credit Average (QCA) of a student. Specifically, we utilise instrumental variable (IV) techniques to find that participating in a study abroad programme significantly improves a student’s academic performance. Furthermore, our results show that using an OLS specification without adjusting for possible endogenous treatment selection effects produces a downward bias in this relationship.