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Higher education; time for coordination on a European level?


  • Laura Thissen


  • Sjef Ederveen



Education has always been regarded as a national matter. According to the subsidiarity principle power may only be shifted to a higher level of coordination when solid arguments exist that this will improve welfare. This paper aims at answering the question if these arguments exist. We find no support for economies of scale, i.e. larger countries do not necessarily provide higher quality education; nor do larger schools. Empirical evidence for human capital externalities through student mobility is scarce. Concluding, we find little support for European coordination of higher education. However, there is evidence that student mobility is a precursor for labour migration. Uniformizing the structure of higher education in the EU, and making educational programs more transparent, may therefore be defended from this perspective. Quality does matter for students, and student mobility is increasing. This may be beneficial to labour mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Thissen & Sjef Ederveen, 2006. "Higher education; time for coordination on a European level?," CPB Discussion Paper 68, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:68

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Beine & Romain Noël & Lionel Ragot, 2012. "The Determinants of International Mobility of Students," CESifo Working Paper Series 3848, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Daraio, Cinzia & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Geuna, Aldo & Lepori, Benedetto & Bach, Laurent & Bogetoft, Peter & F. Cardoso, Margarida & Castro-Martinez, Elena & Crespi, Gustavo & de Lucio, Ignacio Fernandez, 2011. "The European university landscape: A micro characterization based on evidence from the Aquameth project," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 148-164, February.
    3. Elise S. Brezis, 2016. "Why Migrate: For Study or for Work?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-12, August.
    4. George Gelauff & Sjef Ederveen & J.L.M. Pelkmans, 2006. "Assessing subsidiarity," CPB Document 133, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. Malik Fahim Bashir & Changsheng Xu & Khalid Zaman & Ghulam Akhmat, 2014. "Key Factors Determining the Rationale for Brain Drain: An Irony Never Recovered," International Journal of Economics and Empirical Research (IJEER), The Economics and Social Development Organization (TESDO), vol. 2(8), pages 308-320, August.
    6. Rahel Falk & Werner Hölzl & Hannes Leo, 2007. "On the Roles and Rationales of European STI Policies," WIFO Working Papers 299, WIFO.
    7. Beine, Michel & Noël, Romain & Ragot, Lionel, 2014. "Determinants of the international mobility of students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 40-54.
    8. Frederick van der Ploeg & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2007. "Higher Education Reform and the Renewed Lisbon Strategy: Role of Member States and the European Commission," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/33, European University Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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