The Economic Impact of Universities

ACADEME BLOG

Anna Valero and John Van Reenen, both of the London School of Economics, have published one of the first studies to examine the impact of universities on national and regional growth, both within nations and across national borders.

This is the abstract of their paper: “We develop a new dataset using UNESCO source materials on the location of nearly 15,000 universities in about 1,500 regions across 78 countries, some dating back to the 11th Century. We estimate fixed effects models at the sub-national level between 1950 and 2010 and find that increases in the number of universities are positively associated with future growth of GDP per capita (and this relationship is robust to controlling for a host of observables, as well as unobserved regional trends). Our estimates imply that doubling the number of universities per capita is associated with 4% higher future GDP per capita. Furthermore, there appear to be…

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