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Study abroad, Employment, Resume Audit


Conventional wisdom and some empirical research suggests that study abroad programs enhance skills and personal growth in ways that translate into success in the labor market. However, this research is limited by its inability to address sources of selection bias that may confound the positive relationship between study abroad experience and labor-market success. We conduct a field experiment to overcome these limitations. Using a resume audit, we estimate the causal relationship between participation in study abroad experience and the likelihood of receiving a callback from a potential employer. We also tested for potential heterogeneities by the location (i.e., Asia versus Europe) and length (i.e., two weeks versus one year) of the study abroad experience. Compared to resumes that list no study abroad experience, resumes that list study abroad experience in Asia regardless of length are about 20 percent more likely to receive a callback for an interview if the resume studied. The differences in rates increases to 25 percent when comparing resumes without study abroad experience to those that list two-week programs in Asia. Resumes that list study abroad experience in Europe for one year are 20 percent less likely to receive any callback and 35 percent less likely to receiving a call back for an interview, relative to resumes that do not list study abroad experience. Implications about the value of study abroad are discussed.