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Do Universities Generate Agglomeration Spillovers? Evidence from Endowment Value Shocks

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  • Shawn Kantor
  • Alexander Whalley

Abstract

In this paper we quantify the extent and magnitude of agglomeration spillovers from a formal institution whose sole mission is the creation and dissemination of knowledge -- the research university. We use the fact that universities follow a fixed endowment spending policy based on the market value of their endowments to identify the causal effect of the density of university activity on labor income in the non-education sector in large urban counties. Our instrument for university expenditures is based on the interaction between each university's initial endowment level at the start of the study period and the variation in stock market shocks over the course of the study period. We find modest but statistically significant spillover effects of university activity. The estimates indicate that a 10% increase in higher education spending increases local non-education sector labor income by about 0.5%. As the implied elasticity is no larger than what previous work finds for agglomeration spillovers arising from local economic activity in general, university activity does not appear to make a place any more productive than other forms of economic activity. We do find, however, that the magnitude of the spillover is significantly larger for firms that are technologically closer to universities in terms of citing patents generated by universities in their own patents and sharing a labor market with higher education.

Suggested Citation

  • Shawn Kantor & Alexander Whalley, 2009. "Do Universities Generate Agglomeration Spillovers? Evidence from Endowment Value Shocks," NBER Working Papers 15299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15299
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    1. Do Universities Generate Agglomeration Spillovers?
      by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-09-02 12:13:00

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    2. Christian Helmers & Henry G. Overman, 2017. "My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2006-2040, September.
    3. Megha Mukim, 2012. "Does Agglomeration Boost Innovation? An Econometric Evaluation," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 357-380, September.
    4. Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers, 2010. "The Impact of University Research on Corporate Patenting," SERC Discussion Papers 0054, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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