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The Americanization of European Higher Education and Research

In: American Universities in a Global Market

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  • Lex Borghans
  • Frank Cörvers

Abstract

Over the past two decades there has been a substantial increase in the mobility of students in Europe, while also research has become much more internationally oriented. In this paper we document changes in the structure of research and higher education in Europe and investigate potential explanations for the strong increase in its international orientation. While higher education started to grow substantially around 1960, only a few decades later, research and higher education transformed gradually to the American standard. Decreased communication costs are likely causes for this trend. This transformation is most clearly revealed in the change of language used in research from the national language, Latin, German and French to English. Smaller language areas made this transformation earlier while there are also clear timing differences between research fields. Sciences and medicine tend to switch to English first, followed by economics and social sciences, while for law and arts only the first signs of such a transformation are currently observed. This suggests that returns to scale and the transferability of research results are important influences in the decision to adopt the international standard.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Charles T. Clotfelter, 2010. "American Universities in a Global Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot08-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11598.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11598

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    1. DREZE, Jacques H; & ESTEVAN, Fernanda, . "Research and higher education in economics: can we deliver the Lisbon objectives," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1941, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    2. Andreu Mas-Colell, 2004. "The European Space of Higher Education: Incentive and Governance Issues," 'Angelo Costa' Lectures Serie, SIPI Spa, issue Lect. V.
    3. Kirman, Alan & Dahl, Mogens, 1994. "Economic research in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 505-522, April.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Reiner Eichenberger, 1993. "American and European Economics and Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 185-193, Fall.
    5. Rabah Amir & Malgorzata Knauff, 2008. "Ranking Economics Departments Worldwide on the Basis of PhD Placement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 185-190, 08.
    6. J. Peter Neary & James A. Mirrlees & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Evaluating Economics Research in Europe: An Introduction," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1239-1249, December.
    7. Jacques H. Drèze & Fernanda Estevan, 2007. "Roundtable on Research and Higher Education in Economics Research and Higher Education in Economics: Can We Deliver the Lisbon Objectives?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 271-304, 04-05.
    8. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Comparing the Early Research Performance of PhD Graduates in Labour Economics in Europe and the USA," CEPR Discussion Papers 7129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dixon, Keith, 2013. "Growth and dispersion of accounting research about New Zealand before and during a National Research Assessment Exercise: Five decades of academic journals bibliometrics," MPRA Paper 51100, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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