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CentrePiece article
How universities boost economic growth
Anna Valero and John Van Reenen
December 2016
Paper No' CEPCP488:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 21 (3) Winter 2016

JEL Classification: I23; I25; J24; O10; O31

Tags: universities; growth; human capital; innovation

The expansion of higher education has helped to fuel economic growth around the world, according to research by Anna Valero and John Van Reenen. Analysing data on 15,000 universities in 78 countries for the period since 1950, they find that there is a strong positive impact of university expansion on regional economic growth. Doubling the number of universities in a region raises future GDP per capita by 4%. Focusing on the immediate challenges for the UK, they note that the benefits of university expansion far outweigh the costs, but Brexit poses significant risks. Until now, UK universities have thrived in a climate of openness to international students, academics and collaboration.

This article summarises ‘The Economic Impact of Universities: Evidence from Across the Globe’ by Anna Valero and John Van Reenen, CEP Discussion Paper No. 1444, August 2016.