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The Americanization of European Higher Education and Research

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lex Borghans & Frank Cörvers, 2009. "The Americanization of European Higher Education and Research," NBER Working Papers 15217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15217
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    1. DREZE, Jacques & ESTEVAN, Fernanda, 2006. "Research and higher education in economics: can we deliver the Lisbon objectives ?," CORE Discussion Papers 2006051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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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.
    2. Thomas Bolli & Mehdi Farsi, 2015. "The dynamics of productivity in Swiss universities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 21-38, August.
    3. Ana Rute Cardoso & Paulo Guimarães & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2010. "Trends in Economic Research: An International Perspective," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 479-494, November.

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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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