Global flow of China’s human capital and micro-performance of enterprises going global

DING Yibing1,2 LIU Ziwei2

(1.China Center for Public Sector Economy Research at Jilin University)
(2.School of Economics, Jilin University)

【Abstract】Based on the theory of cross-border M&A and human capital mobility, this paper conducted a theoretical analysis and empirical test on the nonlinear relationship between the global mobility of China’s human capital and firm performance and discussed the moderating roles of cultural difference and internet development. Using cross-border M&A records and immigration data of human capital, this paper tested hypotheses with the generalized propensity score matching method. Depicted by the dose response function, the effect was proved to be inverted U-shaped. In detail, the promotion effect of technological human capital was weaker than that of business human capital. Migrants to developed countries had a great contribution to productivity. Moreover, the greater the cultural difference was, the more prominent the role of human capital would play. ICT positively moderated the relationship between mobility of human capital and firm productivity. This paper focused on the positive interaction between human capital and physical capital, provided micro-level empirical evidence for assessing firm performance, and proposed useful suggestions for achieving high-quality economic growth through further opening up.

【Keywords】 human capital; productivity; cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A); generalized propensity score matching;


【Funds】 Major project of the Key Research Base of the Ministry of Education (17JJD630001) The National Social Science Fund of China (17VDL012) The National Social Science Fund of China (18 18ZDA095)

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(Translated by HAN Xueting)


    [1]. ① Data source: 2018 Statistical Bulletin of China’s Outward Foreign Direct Investment. [^Back]

    [2]. ① Please refer to the appendix of China industrial economy website ( for statistical results. [^Back]

    [3]. ① Data source: the website of Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations ( [^Back]

    [4]. ① The DIOC-E database divides immigrants into three categories according to their educational level. The first category (edu1) is the uneducated, including immigrants who have completed primary education but have not completed secondary education, corresponding to categories 0, 1 and 2 of International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). The second category (edu2) is those completing secondary education, which corresponds to ISCED categories 3 and 4. The third category (edu3) is those completing higher education, which corresponds to ISCED categories 5 and 6. [^Back]

    [5]. ① According to the data released by the Ministry of Education of China, in 2017, the proportion of Chinese students studying abroad in the world was about 17.88% (, 2019–05–12). [^Back]

    [6]. ② America, Australia, Japan, Britain, Canada, South Korea, France, Germany and New Zealand successively. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-3536/F

Vol , No. 03, Pages 119-136

March 2020


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Theoretical analyses and research hypotheses
  • 3 Research design
  • 4 Benchmark test of the impact of the global flow of human capital on enterprise productivity
  • 5 Further research
  • 6 Conclusions and policy implications
  • Footnote