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University Decentralization as Regional Policy: The Swedish Experiment

  • Author(s): Andersson, Roland
  • Quigley, John M.
  • Wilhelmsson, Mats
  • et al.
Abstract

During the past 15 years, Swedish higher education policy has emphasized the spatial decentralization of post-secondary education. We investigate the economic effects of this decentralization policy on productivity and output per worker. We rely upon a 14-year panel of output and employment for Sweden’s 285 municipalities, together with data on the location of university-based researchers and students, to estimate the effects of exogenous changes in educational policy upon regional development. We find important and significant effects of this policy upon the average productivity of workers, suggesting that the economic effects of the decentralization on regional development are economically important. We also find evidence of highly significant, but extremely localized, externalities in productivity. This is consistent with recent findings (e.g., Rosenthal and Strange, 2003) on agglomeration in ‘knowledge industries.’

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