Cities’ attraction and retention of graduates: a more-than-economic approach

Lena Imeraj, Didier Willaert, Nissa Finney, Sylvie Gadeyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


In skilled migration research, the role of the study location in graduates’ residential behaviour remains unclear. This paper addresses this lacuna by examining the attractiveness and retention of higher education cities for local attendants in the period after study, using Belgium as an empirical case study. Drawing on a unique linkage of census and register data for 1991–2010, logistic and Cox regressions illustrate the relative success of smaller cities once individual, familial and contextual factors are considered. Location-specific characteristics beyond the economic are found to shape skilled migration towards the higher education localities, particularly in the short term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1097
Number of pages12
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number8
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2018


  • Belgium
  • graduates
  • higher education cities
  • internal migration
  • location-specific capital

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