Beyond remittances: knowledge transfer among highly educated Latvian youth abroad

King, Russell, Lulle, Aija and Buzinska, Laura (2016) Beyond remittances: knowledge transfer among highly educated Latvian youth abroad. Sociology of Development, 2 (2). pp. 183-203. ISSN 2374-538X

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Young, tertiary-educated emigrants see themselves, and are seen by their home country’s government, as agents of economic and social change, especially if they can be incentivized to return home. In this paper we examine whether this hypothesized positive impact is realized, taking the case of Latvia, a small peripheral country in north-east Europe, formerly part of the Soviet Union but since 2004 a member-state of the European Union. We build our analysis on data from an online questionnaire (n=307) and from narrative interviews (n=30) with foreign-educated Latvian students and graduates. In moving beyond remittances, which are the main element in the theory and policy of migration’s contribution to development, we examine knowledge transfer as a form of “social remittance”, breaking down knowledge into a range of types – embrained, embodied, encultured etc. We find that students and graduates do indeed see themselves as agents of change in their home country, but that the changes they want to make, and the broader imaginaries of development that they may have, are constrained due to the limited scale of the market and the often non-transparent recruitment practices in Latvia. Policy should recognize and respond to various barriers that exist to knowledge transfer and return.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 11:54
Last Modified: 17 May 2021 15:19

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