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The Key Role of Education in the Europe 2020 Strategy


  • Thum, Anna-Elisabeth
  • Roth,Felix


The EU 2020 Agenda has taken an important step forward by setting the target for tertiary graduation rates at an ambitious 40%. This paper finds that many European countries, however, including the largest economy – Germany – will not be able to meet this target. Moreover, the crucial topic of educational quality is not even touched upon. Comparing the EU with China in total numbers, the authors find that China’s education system already produces the same number of graduates with tertiary education as the whole EU15. Given the large output of graduates, which is the key to productive spending on R&D, this means that China is likely to soon become a growing power in innovation. Initially the country is expected to concentrate on incremental innovation, with radical innovation to come only later and it is here, the authors warn, that the quality of the university system might represent a major obstacle in the Chinese government’s efforts to close the gap with the US and the EU15 in terms of innovation potential.

Suggested Citation

  • Thum, Anna-Elisabeth & Roth,Felix, 2010. "The Key Role of Education in the Europe 2020 Strategy," CEPS Papers 3827, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:eps:cepswp:3827

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2008. "Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2443, CESifo.
    2. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    3. Dalia Marin, 2011. "The Opening Up of Eastern Europe at 20: Jobs, Skills and Reverse Maquiladoras in Austria and Germany," Chapters, in: Miroslav N. Jovanović (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume II, chapter 13, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2010. "Do rankings reflect research quality?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 13, pages 1-38, May.
    5. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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    2. Anne GOUJON & Samir K. C. & Markus SPERINGER & Bilal BARAKAT & Michaela POTANCOKOVÀ, 2016. "A Harmonized Dataset on Global Educational Attainment between 1970 and 2060 - An Analytical Window into Recent Trends and Future Prospects in Human Capital Development," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 315-363, September.
    3. Mihaela Simionescu & Maria-Simona Naros, 2019. "Sustainable Development and the Insertion of Higher Educated Unemployed People on Romanian Labour Market," Academic Journal of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 5(1), pages 12-16, March.
    4. Ágnes N. Tóth, 2015. "Debts To Be Paid In 21st Century Hungarian Education," Proceedings of Teaching and Education Conferences 2805153, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    5. Kopatz, Susanne & Pilz, Matthias, 2015. "The Academic Takes it All? A Comparison of Returns to Investment in Education between Graduates and Apprentices in Canada," International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET), European Research Network in Vocational Education and Training (VETNET), European Educational Research Association, vol. 2(4), pages 308-325.

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