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University Decentralization as Regional Policy: The Swedish Experiment

  • Andersson, Roland
  • Quigley, John M.
  • Wilhelmsson, Mats

During the past 15 years, Swedish higher education policy has emphasized the spatial decentralization of post-secondary education. We investigate the economic effects of this decentralization policy on productivity and output per worker. We rely upon a 14-year panel of output and employment for Sweden’s 285 municipalities, together with data on the location of university-based researchers and students, to estimate the effects of exogenous changes in educational policy upon regional development. We find important and significant effects of this policy upon the average productivity of workers, suggesting that the economic effects of the decentralization on regional development are economically important. We also find evidence of highly significant, but extremely localized, externalities in productivity. This is consistent with recent findings (e.g., Rosenthal and Strange, 2003) on agglomeration in ‘knowledge industries.’

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Paper provided by Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy in its series Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series with number qt81n6b8fb.

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Date of creation: 10 Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt81n6b8fb
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  1. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
  2. Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila & Acs, Zoltan, 1997. "Local Geographic Spillovers between University Research and High Technology Innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 422-448, November.
  3. James D. Adams, 2001. "Comparative Localization of Academic and Industrial Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 8292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  5. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  8. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
  9. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  10. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2001. "The Determinants of Agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 191-229, September.
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