We investigate whether a creaming off of highly able students from Dutch universities is taking place. Therefore, we examine the relation between ability and the destination of recent graduates of Dutch universities. Students can choose to continue their academic career by investing in a PhD degree instead of working, taking into account that both options can be realized in the Netherlands as well as abroad. We also investigate whether these choices are affected by the climate in certain fields of study and universities. Using a data set of workers and PhD students who recently graduated from Dutch universities two probit equations are estimated simultaneously, one for the migration decision and one for the choice between working and pursuing a PhD. Our findings indicate that highly able graduates are significantly more likely than average graduates to go abroad. They invest more often in a PhD programme, which is positively correlated with their likelihood to go abroad. In addition, the climate promoting going abroad and starting PhD study is shown to have positive effects on the odds of going abroad and participating in a PhD programme. This particularly holds for the highly able.
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