Staying local or going back: A study on international university graduates' mobility

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Upon graduation, international students studying abroad often have to decide whether to stay local or return home. We investigate university graduates' mobility from the perspective of social capital theory. An empirical study of mainland Chinese university students' intention to remain in Hong Kong upon completion of their university studies was conducted. An online survey was used to recruit the participants. In total, 155 valid questionnaires were received, with a response rate of 40.8%. Structural capital and relational capital were found to be the important factors affecting mainland Chinese students' intention to stay in a linear manner. Cognitive capital self-moderated the relationship between cognitive capital and intention to stay. Cognitive capital affected the intention to stay in a non-linear way. We make a unique contribution to the field by showing that 1) the effect of cognitive capital is quadratic rather than linear; 2) relational capital is more important to female students than to male students; and 3) structural capital is more important to senior year university degree students than to junior year degree students. The theoretical and managerial implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0268821
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022


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