Non-Economic Motivations behind International Student Mobility

An Interdisciplinary Perspective


  • Shekhar Tokas Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University
  • Anand Sharma O.P. Jindal Global University
  • Ratnam Mishra Delhi Technological University
  • Rohit Yadav SGT University



human capital theory, international student mobility, non-economic motivations, personal capital, social capital


International Student Mobility (ISM) has received a lot of attention in the literature on international migration. However, most of the studies assume that investment in skills and knowledge by international students is guided by economic motivations only. Importantly, with an increase in the proportion of international student mobility in total mobility, the students’ motivations have become more complex. Different theoretical approaches across disciplines have been logically extended to study the mobility motivations of international students. Most of the existing approaches do not emphasise the non-economic aspects of motivation and thus, do not provide a holistic understanding of ISM. This paper proposes an augmented human capital framework that incorporates the non-economic motivations of international students through the inclusion of psychic gains and the acquired stocks of personal and social capital.

Author Biographies

Shekhar Tokas, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University

SHEKHAR TOKAS, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Delhi, India. His research and publications have primarily focused on the mobility of international students, human capital, and higher education. Email: 

Anand Sharma, O.P. Jindal Global University

Dr. Anand Sharma is an Associate Professor of Economics at Jindal Global Business School, O.P. Jindal Global University. He is a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Prior to his doctoral degree, he completed M.Phil in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Dr. Sharma was associated with IIM Rohtak, IIM Sirmaur and P.G.D.A.V. College (University of Delhi) as an Assistant Professor. He has also worked as an economic expert in the Antitrust Division of Competition Commission of India. His research interests include development economics, health economics, and institutional economics. Email:

Ratnam Mishra, Delhi Technological University

Ratnam Mishra is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the University School of Management and Entrepreneurship (USME), Delhi Technological University (DTU). She has a PhD degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, with specialization in Economics of Education, and a Masters in Economics and Rural Development from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, Ayodhya. Her areas of interest are economics of migration, entrepreneurship, vocational education and skill development, and issues in the Indian Economy. Email:

Rohit Yadav, SGT University

Dr. Rohit Yadav is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at Faculty of Commerce and Management, SGT University. Dr. Rohit Yadav holds a Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee). He has published various research papers in ABDC -A, B and C categories with reputed publishers like Emerald, Springer, Sage etc. and presented research papers in National and International conferences. Email:


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How to Cite

Tokas, S., Sharma, A., Mishra, R., & Yadav, R. (2022). Non-Economic Motivations behind International Student Mobility: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Journal of International Students, 13(2), 155–171.



Research Articles (English)