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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.

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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 68.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:68
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