University impact evaluation: Counterfactual methods
Nowadays the realization that certain economic units, universities or other objects have impact on the economy of their region comes more and more into prominence. The economic impact study has become a standard tool to persuade state legislatures of the importance of expenditures on higher education. The most general definition is as "the difference between existing economic activity in a region given the presence of the institution and the level that would have been present if the institution did not exist". In the practice we face a series of problems: separation of net and gross impact, identification of universities' missions, territorial level choice, statistical model choice, estimation of induced and catalytic impacts, etc. Different methods used in literature make results hardly comparable, thereby our focus is to recommend a method to investigate universities in different countries: in the lack of regional input-output matrices a multiplier based approach for first and second missions (education and research), while an application of a set of indicators for third mission (knowledge transfer related) activities. After a methodological review, we demonstrate our experiences based on example of the University of Lorraine (France), University of Szeged (Hungary), and 2 other small colleges in Hungary.
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