International Student Migration and the Field Theory of Kurt Lewin
In the second, empirical part of the paper, the outlined theory of fields of K. Lewin is used in order to explain observational data of the inter-university flows of Erasmus students (European Commission (2014), “Erasmus”). The strength of the field of a target-university is hypothesised to depend on positive valences like its international academic ranking, the number of structural holes in terms of study-places reserved for Erasmus students, but also on negative valences such as the cost of living or the particularities of the language of teaching. These factors are assumed to interact with the migrant student's position in the mentioned social attribute space, operationalized by the teaching language, the cost of living, and the university ranking at the place of origin. By taking all these factors into account, it is possible to explain the observed migration flows by means of statistical regression techniques.